By  on August 25, 2006

NEW YORK — Ralph Lauren is attempting to give its teen fragrance franchise a rebellious edge with the launch of Ralph Rocks, its fourth installment in a series that stretches back to 2000.

"We wanted to keep it fresh and leverage the power of the Ralph franchise as a global beauty brand," said Signe Gammeltoft, president of Ralph Lauren Fragrances Worldwide. "This younger audience is always looking for newness, and this new fragrance communicates the love for music, creativity and rock 'n' roll."

Ralph Lauren Fragrances, a division of global beauty company L'Oréal, wanted to capitalize and build upon the strengths of the Ralph franchise. Developing franchises has always been one of the company's strengths, as illustrated by its still growing Polo brand. The company's first franchise fragrance, the original Ralph by Ralph Lauren, was introduced six years ago and was followed by Cool in 2004 and Hot last spring.

"The Ralph Rocks fragrance appeals to a more rebellious girl with an attitude, who's free-spirited, hip and creative. The original Ralph was created for a preppy and confident girl, Cool for a trendy and adventurous girl, and Hot for her flirty and sexy side," said Gammeltoft.

Created by Annie Buzantian of Fimenich, Ralph Rocks is a "citrus floral cream" fragrance composed of top notes of passion fruit, kiwi and citrus; middle notes of freesia, orange blossom, hyacinth and palm leaves; and bottom notes of sun-bleached woods, Indonesian sandalwood and amber.

Making its debut in February, Ralph Rocks is designed to give the "Ralph girl" a new fragrance in her lifestyle portfolio. Packaged in an orange bottle, the fragrance will be launched in 2,200 U.S. department store doors, followed by an international rollout in April 2007.

"Each fragrance plays a story in the franchise. The fragrances are another chapter in the Ralph book," said Richard Pinabel, vice president of global marketing worldwide for Ralph Lauren Fragrances. "We're also capitalizing on the rock 'n' roll trend — the comeback of classic rock music. To do this, we used a new face to reenergize the franchise."

Though L'Oréal continues to target women between the ages of 15 and 25 for the Ralph franchise, a new face — that of 16-year-old Hannah Davis — will appear in the Ralph ads with the hopes of adding a dimension of edginess and freshness. Davis previously appeared in the Ralph Lauren Blue Label advertising.While L'Oréal does not break out sales projections or advertising budgets, industry sources estimated that all four fragrances in the Ralph franchise could generate about $38 million in U.S. retail sales by the end of this year. The franchise is expected to bring in an estimated $45 million in U.S. retail sales next year. With about $5 million spent on advertising, Ralph Rocks alone should generate between $10 million and $15 million in first-year retail sales.

For a fragrance franchise meant to appeal to young women known for their fickleness, the Ralph series of scents has shown an unusual degree of staying power over the years. According to Serge Jureidini, president of the Designer Fragrance Division, since Ralph's launch in 2000, the franchise has remained in the top 10 at the fragrance bar and sits at number six so far this year. Gammeltoft added that in Mexico and Canada, the franchise is in the top 10.

The Rocks eau de toilette spray will be available in two sizes, a 1.7-oz. version for $42.50 and a 3.4-oz. size for $55. Two ancillaries, a 6.7-oz. body moisturizer for $27.50 and a 6.7-oz. shower gel for $24, will also be launched in February.

According to Ed Fox, senior vice president of domestic marketing, print advertising, shot by Carter Berg, will break around February in about a dozen teen, fashion, beauty and lifestyle magazines, including Teen Vogue, Seventeen and CosmoGirl. Fox added that 50 million scented impressions will be made. Online efforts, including the Web site, will play a major part in the brand's awareness campaign. Fox said that a musical tie-in with a rock 'n' roll theme is planned. The company also will consider special in-store events.

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