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Men’s Corner: Wrangler Rustling Up a Fragrance

NEW YORK — Wrangler Apparel Corp., known for its iconic, namesake denim brand, will launch its first fragrance this summer.<BR><BR>A signature men's scent, Wrangler cologne is expected to be the first of several Wrangler fragrances thanks to a...

NEW YORK — Wrangler Apparel Corp., known for its iconic, namesake denim brand, will launch its first fragrance this summer.

A signature men’s scent, Wrangler cologne is expected to be the first of several Wrangler fragrances thanks to a long-term deal between the 58-year-old jeans maker, which is a unit of VF Corp., and Boom LLC, its licensee. Future plans call for a Wrangler women’s scent and a separate home fragrance collection.

But it’s first things first and, in mid-August, Boom will launch Wrangler cologne at chain drugstores in the U.S. and at mass merchants like Wal-Mart and Target. Also, retailers like J.C. Penney and Sears are expected to carry the scent. These are stores where the denim brand already has strength, executives contended. Wrangler cologne will be rolled out to some 15,000 doors by yearend.

“You don’t have to try too hard to understand what Wrangler is,” said Art DeGaetano, president and chief executive officer of Boom. “We thought it would be a great opportunity to align with them.”

Unlike other mass-market scents with a Western theme, Wrangler is “not about a celebrity personality,” said George Weldon, director of licensing for VF Jeanswear. He was hinting at recent celebrity signings by Coty — namely Matthew McConaughey and Shania Twain — for its Stetson fragrance brand. Instead, Weldon added, “[Wrangler] is about a lifestyle.”

And to illustrate that Wrangler is more than jeans, Weldon pointed to the brand’s launches in housewares last year, including tables and chairs for casual dining, bedding and towels. Given these businesses, Weldon acknowledged that a future Wrangler home fragrance would not be a stretch. “We’re continuing [chairman and chief executive officer of $6.1 billion VF Corp.] Mackey McDonald’s vision of creating global lifestyle brands within the VF family of brands,” he said.

Wrangler cologne could generate retail sales of between $15 million and $20 million between August and December, according to industry sources.

Fragrance supplier Ungerer blended the scent, a fresh fougere that mixes olfactory accords of juniper berries and citrus, davana grass and fresh ozone and lavender and black current.

“Everything about this fragrance completely identifies with who we see our customer being,” said Weldon. He described this person as a 35-or-older masculine, outdoorsy consumer. DeGaetano said Wrangler cologne could even appeal to a demographic range of consumers between 20 and 50 years old.

This story first appeared in the May 13, 2005 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Wrangler cologne will be available in four versions, a 1-oz. spray for $12, a 1.7-oz. splash for $16, a 1.7-oz. spray for $17.50 and a 3.4-oz. spray for $25. Two aftershaves, a 1.7-oz. splash for $12 and a 3.4-oz. splash for $17.50, as well as a $4.50 deodorant stick, will accompany the launch of Wrangler cologne. The front of the scent’s dark amber bottle, which was designed by Neil Davis Design, features a frosted version of the Wrangler logo.

Plans called for Wrangler cologne to be launched internationally early next year.

When it comes to licensing, Boom, which could do $130 million in retail sales volume this year, typically tries to align itself with well-known brands. Boom holds fragrance and personal care licenses for Major League Baseball, the National Football League and Disney. “In all our licensing efforts, there’s a high amount of consumer awareness,” said DeGaetano.

He noted that an advertising and promotional campaign worth “several million dollars” will support Wrangler cologne. Also, DeGaetano hopes to play off Wrangler’s “substantial” existing media campaign. About 25 million scented impressions of Wrangler cologne will appear in October issues of men’s and women’s magazines. Television advertising is being weighed for the month of December.

“This [will be] a long-term strategy for the brand over many years to come,” Weldon said of the fragrance venture. “This is just the first of several fragrances.”