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Goin’ Country

This fall, Tim McGraw will measure the strength of his draw on mass fragrance shelves.

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Entertainer Tim McGraw’s first scent, McGraw by Tim McGraw, marks new territory for Coty: Country music fans offered a mass market product. McGraw is due out in August in 20,000 North American mass market doors and could do $40 million at retail in its first year.

This story first appeared in the April 25, 2008 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

This fall, Tim McGraw will measure the strength of his draw on mass fragrance shelves.

That’s when the country music star will launch his first fragrance, McGraw by Tim McGraw, at drugstores and mass market stores in North America.

“We see launching McGraw as a strategic shift for Coty,” said Stephen Mormoris, senior vice president of global marketing for Coty Beauty, which holds the McGraw license. The McGraw deal was inked in November. “We will launch a very prestige-inspired fragrance straight to mass — which we believe will rejuvenate the mass market fragrance business. Tim resonates with the American consumer — he is admired not only for being a great musician, but also for being a great husband [to Faith Hill] and father [of three]. We see this as one of the most significant mass market fragrance launches since [Coty launched] Celine Dion five years ago.”

Added Mormoris: “A lot of the mass fragrance market is borrowing pretense from prestige brands that aren’t speaking directly to the mass market. We thought that we needed to bring to market an iconic American fragrance without any pretense. This isn’t diverted from department stores. It’s an honest mass launch.”

The woody, spicy scent, produced by Symrise, has top notes of bergamot and nutmeg; a heart of lavender and moss, and a dry down of amber, patchouli, sandalwood and — what else — aged whisky.

The McGraw by Tim McGraw line comprises eaux de toilette in three sizes: 0.5 oz. for $17, 1 oz. for $23 and 1.7 oz. for $30.

The fragrance will launch in August in about 20,000 North American chain drugstores, Wal-Mart and midtier department stores, said Mormoris.

Print advertising, by Michel Comte, breaks in September men’s and lifestyle magazines. A TV campaign, shot by Comte, also will begin in September, and features McGraw “caught in a jam session, with an analogy made between the creative process of creating a song and the process of creating a fragrance,” said Mormoris. An Internet campaign is also planned, including a microsite that will give consumers additional insight into the fragrance development process.

Additionally, McGraw — who already has visited the factories producing the scent — will offer a special CD at the fragrance’s launch, with scent samples inside. “Tim has been very involved,” said Mormoris, adding that McGraw helped to create the fragrance and closely participated in designing the bottle. For example, said Mormoris, the fragrance’s rectangular glass bottle has a black leatherlike neck, with a silver cap with embossed rope representing McGraw’s country roots in silver and a replica of a guitar pick on the top of the outer box to symbolize McGraw’s music. “These personal touches made it Tim McGraw,” said Mormoris.

Since his career launched in 1993, McGraw has sold more than 40 million albums worldwide and placed a total of 30 singles at number one.

While Mormoris declined to discuss sales projections or advertising spending, industry sources estimated that McGraw would do upward of $40 million at retail in its first year on counter, and that Coty would spend about $5 million on advertising and promotion in the same time frame.

The singer — who will celebrate his 41st birthday on May 1 — will introduce his scent to the press at a private concert Tuesday night.

“We will build a house of Tim McGraw, no question,” said Mormoris. “There are other aspects of his personality that we will play on. But this is the first statement — it is the signature.”

Coty’s extensive celebrity fragrance portfolio also includes the scent licenses of Gwen Stefani, Jennifer Lopez, Sarah Jessica Parker, Celine Dion, Shania Twain and Kylie Minogue, among others.

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