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An image from the Gucci Guilty ad campaign.

ROME — Gucci is dipping its stiletto-clad toes into the digital waters with the launch of its latest women’s fragrance, Gucci Guilty, which is aimed at a young, social-networking consumer.

This story first appeared in the July 2, 2010 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

“We wanted to create something new, unconventional and to break some rules,” said Frida Giannini, Gucci’s creative director, here on Tuesday to preview the scent slated to hit stores worldwide in September. U.K. exclusives are set for Harrods and Selfridges in August.

“We connect with the daring side of the brand in Gucci Guilty,” said Luigi Feola, vice president of Procter & Gamble Prestige, Gucci’s licensee, referring to the TV spot’s risqué imagery and provocative noir undertones. It was directed by comic-book writer-artist Frank Miller, and features Evan Rachel Wood and Chris Evans.

P&G Prestige is hoping this latest sexy juice — positioned alongside its existing feminine scent Flora, launched in April 2009 — will reinforce the younger pillar of Gucci’s fragrance portfolio by addressing a different Gucci customer and tapping social networkers into the world of luxury fragrance. To this end, the scent’s bold marketing buzz is distinct from other fragrances in the Gucci stable. Giannini described the campaign’s protagonist as a “daredevil who takes risks” — a phrase apt to describe Giannini’s approach to fragrance marketing. In 2007 she tapped filmmaker David Lynch to direct a mini film to advertise her first scent, Gucci by Gucci. “I’m a risk taker, but of course you have to take them with a sense of responsibility,” said Giannini, lounging in her trademark skyscraper heels. “We’re talking about millions of dollars, so we need to play seriously, but I think a sort of craziness sometimes is crucial for a creative person.” The campaign’s art direction is overseen by Riccardo Ruini from the REM agency.

Aiming to hit search engines the world over, iPad and iPhone applications, a Facebook campaign, interactive events on social-networking forums, a dedicated site and multiple touch points in-store will build on saucy print ads photographed by fashion duo Mert & Marcus, Miller’s TV spot and the scent’s catchy moniker.

“The campaign’s interactive element has been thought through from the beginning,” said Feola, who revealed Guilty’s online ad budget is proportionally higher because of the interactive nature of the campaign.

Industry sources predict the scent could top $200 million in first-year retail sales. However, Feola was keen to stress the importance of longevity. “Our top priority is to sustain sales, as opposed to just a big bang in year one,” he said, noting the eventual goal is to have the scent represent 25 percent of Gucci’s total fragrance revenues. “We’ve doubled sales since we signed the Gucci license, and hope this will be another vehicle to increase sales.” The scent is slated to hit 20,000 doors, according to Feola.

Giannini said she wanted the scent’s flacon to be not only a perfume bottle but an accessory, too. Guilty’s ergonomic, all-over-gold design features Gucci’s signature interlocking Gs that provide a window to its amber juice.

In the U.S., Gucci Guilty eau de toilette sprays will be priced at 30 ml. for $55, 50 ml. for $74, and 75 ml. for $94. Ancillaries include a deodorant spray, 100 ml. for $39; body lotion, 200 ml. for $49; shower gel, 200 ml. for $42, and a body-shimmer powder for $50.