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DKNY in Men’s Fragrance Push

Donna Karan is making an aggressive foray into men's fragrance with the launch for spring of DKNY Men, the brand's first stand-alone men's scent.

Donna Karan is making an aggressive foray into men’s fragrance with the launch for spring of DKNY Men, the brand’s first stand-alone men’s scent.

This story first appeared in the February 13, 2009 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

And, in a twist regarding the advertising campaign for the scent’s late February-early March launch, DKNY is pulling off a model redux — Mark Vanderloo, 39, who represented DKNY men’s fashion in the Nineties, will front DKNY Men in the ad effort.

“My design approach has always been about the senses,” stated Donna Karan. “DKNY Men is all about the man and the city. It takes a certain kind of guy to live and thrive in New York [and] I wanted a scent to speak to his unique style and strength. That is why we chose Mark Vanderloo to represent both DKNY fashion and fragrance. He embodies the DKNY Man.”

Said Mark Weber, chairman and chief executive officer of Donna Karan International, “We’ve built a loyal following among young urban men with success in men’s clothing, furnishings, sportswear and jeans. Fragrance is a natural extension, completing the picture as a lifestyle and as a business.” He added, “The DKNY fragrance franchise ranks top 10 in key markets around the world, so there is room for growth and unlimited potential.

“By positioning DKNY Men as a stand-alone men’s scent,” he continued, “we are telling our customer that our male consumer is important to us and that growing the DKNY men’s fragrance business is a priority.”

Veronique Gabai-Pinsky, president of Aramis and Designer Fragrances, a division of the Estée Lauder Cos. Inc., added, “We were looking for a pure masculine play for DKNY, not to link it to women’s and not to link it to a masterbrand,” she said. She alluded to the fragrance brand’s modest men’s business, which includes a men’s scent within the Be Delicious collection. “[DKNY Men] gives us the opportunity to expand our wings in the men’s fragrance arena,” she added. “We’ve built a successful women’s side and want to translate this into the men’s area.”

While executives declined to discuss sales projections, industry sources estimate that globally DKNY Men could generate some $60 million to $70 million in first-year retail sales volume, or about $15 million to $17.5 million in the U.S.

Those sources added that more than $10 million would be spent to support the advertising and promotional campaign featuring Vanderloo. The national print campaign, which will include single pages, spreads and scented strips, is slated to appear in the March issues of Details, GQ, Vanity Fair, Men’s Health, Out and Wired.

It prominently features the Empire State and FlatIron buildings and as part of the promotional campaign, personal appearances by Vanderloo are possible.

Laird + Partners worked with Aramis and Designer Fragrances to finalize the ad campaign, which was photographed by Mikael Jansson. Television spots are possible for the U.S. in the fall.

DKNY Men, a citrus, floral, woody scent, will be available in 3.4- 1.7- and 1-oz. versions for $65, $50 and $35, respectively. Lauder worked in collaboration with Alberto Morillas and Harry Fremont of Firmenich for more than a year to compose the scent, which includes notes of bergamot, mandarin, juniper and clary sage. The spicy heart of the fragrance has notes of white pepper, cardamom, violet leaves and wet jasmine, while the scent’s drydown releases notes of sandalwood, cedarwood, patchouli, orris and vetiver.

The DKNY Men project “gave us the chance to build from the ground up what would resonate with men, and the soul, power and sophistication of New York — the energy it evokes,” said Trudi Loren, vice president of corporate fragrance development worldwide for Lauder.

The bottle, which has a diamond shape when viewed from above, was designed to be a “reflection of the glass and steel of the city — the architecture of the buildings,” noted Gabai-Pinsky. (Think New York’s original skyscraper.) The cap is comprised of etched steel to be reminiscent of the austere sidewalks and metal of city streets. Outer packaging features an iconic shot of the Empire State Building.

The scent is intended to appeal mostly to guys ages 25 to 45 and will be carried in 2,200 U.S. doors, which represents the full distribution of DKNY scents. Retail outlets will include Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, Dillard’s, Belk, Gottschalks and Boscov’s locations.