LONDON — Burberry isn’t skipping a beat.
This story first appeared in the December 20, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The brand, which took its beauty division in-house earlier this year, will in January launch the women’s edition of Burberry Brit Rhythm, which is targeted at the Millennial consumer.
Like its male counterpart, which launched in September, the women’s scent takes its cue from music, and specifically the heat and anticipation around live, acoustic performances. Music is a personal passion of chief creative officer and chief executive officer-designate Christopher Bailey, and he’s steadily integrated it into the brand’s DNA.
This scent will also be promoted and linked with related merchandise from the Burberry stable: There will be a one-off capsule collection of leather jackets, while customers will be able to buy the smoky-eyed makeup worn by model Suki Waterhouse in the edgy, black-and-white campaign and video.
“We wanted beauty fully integrated into everything we do, into all departments. It is our fifth pillar,” said Bailey during the press launch at the company’s London headquarters in Horseferry House.
Bailey said that from now on, products such as “outerwear, bags and nail polish” would all be designed to work together, thanks to the new in-house division.
“We have only just begun,” he added. “This is our most exciting category.” Burberry has said Rhythm is targeted at the Millennial customer, and was built to be a fundamental cornerstone and point of entry into the brand.
Bailey has said that Rhythm “is aiming to capture the emotion, excitement and attitude attached to live music. It’s really that kind of adrenaline feeling that you get from music. The effect of hairs rising on the back of your neck. The moment where you are anticipating your favorite band coming on, or when you are listening to a beautiful piece. It’s a sexy fragrance because I think there is a sexiness to that kind of rock ’n’ roll world.”
And while the juice — whose color is smoky pink — may have a rock ’n’ roll edge, there’s a powdery softness, too.
There are top notes of English lavender, pink peppercorn and neroli, while the heart notes contain orris absolute, blackberry leaves and orange flower absolute with Petalia, a peony-scented floral molecule patented by Givaudan. Base notes include vetiver, musks and vibrant woods.
Nathalie Cetto, who worked alongside fellow Givaudan perfumer Antoine Maisondieu to create the fragrance, said aromatic and fresh English lavender from Kent plays a key role in the new juice, while orange flower blossom and orris offer a dose of sensuality.
“We are very proud — this is the first feminine fragrance created around lavender. English lavender is more aromatic [than French], and it was important for us to have an English ingredient,” Cetto said.
She added that the new fragrance has a fundamental paradox at its core: a tussle between the spicy ingredients, such as pink peppercorns, and the floral Petalia, which plays a role all the way through to the drydown.
She added that the smell of peony is younger and sometimes easier on the senses than rose, and that the effect of the Givaudan molecule is like “being embraced by a cloud of peony petals.”
While the rectangular bottle is a Burberry Brit signature, the latest design was inspired by the rock star’s staple studded leather jacket.
The outside of the clear glass bottle is textured with ridges and nubs that replicate a check pattern, while the sides are smooth. The lid is a clear perspex cube that tops a silver atomizer, while the smoky pink juice becomes the bottle’s single color feature.
Bailey said during the launch of the men’s fragrance that he wanted to take the Brit bottle “to the next level. We’ve got this bottle that has become iconic within the Burberry fragrances. It’s very square, it’s very graphic, it’s linear,” said Bailey.
The eau de toilette fragrance comes in three sizes: 90 ml. costing $90; 50 ml. at $70, and 30 ml. at $53. There is also a 150-ml. body lotion priced $52; a 50-ml. hair mist at $40; a 150-ml. body wash at $38, and a 100-ml. deodorant at $35.
The fragrance will launch officially on Jan. 28 at all Burberry stores and online, and will prelaunch at Sephora on the Avenue des Champs-Élysées in Paris on Jan. 3. In London, it will prelaunch at Selfridges on Jan. 23.
The fragrance will be stocked at stores including Nordstrom, Macy’s, Lord & Taylor, Bloomingdale’s, Sephora, Holt Renfrew, Hudson’s Bay, Debenhams, Boots, House of Fraser, Printemps and Nocibé. The scent will be distributed in the U.K. by Fragrance Factory, in Canada by Clarins, and by Beauté Prestige International in France, Spain and the U.S., as well as for most of Europe and some Asia-Pacific travel-retail markets. Cosmax will distribute it in Australia.
A teaser campaign will make its debut on burberry.com on Jan. 21, and Bailey said the marketing would be “disruptive,” much like it was with the men’s fragrance.
Burberry plans to spend 30 percent of its marketing spend on digital activity. By contrast, Burberry said on average its competitors spend 4 percent on digital marketing for fragrance launches.
Marketing will take place across all social platforms, with sampling done through social media, while user-generated content will feature in outdoor digital and online campaigns. A Burberry spokesman said there will also be a “live music moment” to mark the launch, as well as digital fragrance sampling, and “immersive” content to unlock on the site, but gave no further details.
With the men’s fragrance, the company gave out temporary scented tattoos in the shape of the bottle, and offered fans the chance to enter a prize drawing to attend one of the three live music gigs that the company staged to mark the launch.
The full-year wholesale revenue target at Burberry’s beauty division will remain fixed at 140 million pounds, or $223 million, while retail-wholesale profits will be 10 million pounds, or $16 million, for the year.
Burberry has said the 140 million pounds in revenue will be weighted to the second half, and come more from new launches — such as the Brit Rhythm fragrances.
“We are as excited as we have ever been about beauty. We are underpenetrated in the market, and we are already seeing a halo effect from the launch of Brit Rhythm for Men,” said the company’s ceo Angela Ahrendts.
The company does not break out sales projections, but industry sources estimate that the new fragrance could hit a target as high as 40 million pounds, or $65.3 million at current exchange, in wholesale revenue worldwide in the first year of launch. Burberry has declined to give a figure.
In the fall, Burberry opened a Brit Rhythm pop-up at Heathrow’s Terminal 5, and a company spokesman said the men’s fragrance has been one of its most successful launches to date.