By  on February 18, 2005

NEW YORK — How many ways can you wear a cowboy hat?

Coty Beauty U.S. hopes to find out as it gives a swift cowboy-boot kick to its Stetson franchise.

The 24-year-old logo is in need of a dusting off, according to Coty executives who hope the overhaul will lift sales from $55 million in retail sales in 2004 to $94 million in 2006.

“The Stetson brand has tremendously strong name recognition; however, it is always important to continue to add newness and excitement to a brand,” said Marsha Brooks, vice president of marketing/business development for Coty Beauty U.S. “This shows we are willing to invest in existing brands.”

The next frontier for Stetson includes the launch of Stetson Black for men this May and a mass-celebrity entry starring Shania Twain (see related story opposite page).

Texas-born hunk Matthew McConaughey, who was tapped late last year to represent Stetson, will again star in advertising for Stetson Black.

Stetson Black is welcomed by retailers — ranging from behemoths like Wal-Mart to regionals such as Lewis Drug — that crave something to revitalize the mass-fragrance business. Men’s fragrance sales were down 0.7 percent for the 52-week period ended Oct. 31, 2004, according to Information Resources Inc. (excluding Wal-Mart). Women’s were off 5.6 percent for that same period based on IRI data. There’s been a dearth of new mass-market launches in the past year, and the premium department-store brands are not delivering the dollars retailers need to expand fragrance sales.

 “We need some of the excitement you see in department stores to trickle to us,” said Mark Griffin, president and chief executive officer of Lewis Drug. Coty Beauty U.S. president John Galantic said Coty is working with retailers to “elevate” mass fragrances. “We’ve seen great strides in stores with more department-store touches such as banners, loop videos and more sampling.”

Buyers are salivating over the marketing muscle Coty plans behind Stetson Black. “They are really spending to get this going,” said one large chain buyer. It is estimated $3 million will be allocated to print ads featuring Matthew McConaughey. Another $13 million dollar media budget will be put behind the entire house of Stetson portfolio.

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