By  on February 11, 1994

DARIEN, Conn. -- Parfums de Coeur is cleaning the rust off a trio of fragrances that used to be mass market stars.

Last August, Parfums de Coeur president Mark Laracy purchased the rights to three Prince Matchabelli brands: Wind Song, which made its debut in 1952; Cachet, introduced in 1970, and Aviance Night Musk, launched in 1975.

All had been owned by the Matchabelli division of Chesebrough-Pond's.

Now Laracy has unveiled a two-year plan to "re-establish the brands as the powerhouses they once were."

The strategy includes beefed-up advertising behind Wind Song and Aviance, as well as fresh packaging for all three brands.

Collectively, annual sales of the three fragrances have dropped to about $30 million at wholesale, according to Laracy. He said Wind Song alone generated a yearly volume of $35 million during its peak in the early Seventies, and he believes the brand can return to that level of turnover within a few years.

He declined to make a projection for Cachet and Aviance, but sources estimate that each should eventually generate a volume about half that of Wind Song.

Retailers concurred that the fragrances have suffered of late from a complete lack of advertising and support. But despite the absence of backing, Laracy claimed the fragrances have high consumer recognition, especially among older women who recall earlier advertising campaigns.

The most highly recognized name was Wind Song, which has a 70 percent consumer awareness level, according to Laracy. The Prince Matchabelli name was recognized by 61 percent of those surveyed.

Luckily for Parfums de Coeur, retailers never bothered to drop the fragrances from their mix, mainly because they have few other mass brands to put in their place.

"It is nice to see the brands are still in wide distribution, which means we don't have to rebuild them," said Roy E. Sowers, vice president of sales for Parfums de Coeur.

The company's goal is to shore up the fragrances' dwindling customer base, while attracting new, younger users.

Body sprays, which will have a suggested price of $4 for a 2.5-ounce bottle, will be added to each brand in April. To create a more accessible entry price point, the company will offer a trial shipment of 0.5-ounce body sprays for 99 cents.

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