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PARIS — The Eau de Lacoste L.12.12 trio of men’s fragrances, just launched in France, was inspired by Lacoste’s iconic polo shirt.
This story first appeared in the February 25, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
When champion tennis player René Lacoste created it in 1927, he transformed sportswear by snipping off the sleeves of his shirt and changing its fabric. “The whole essence of the Lacoste brand is about innovation on some level,” said William R. Brace, vice president for Procter & Gamble Prestige, Lacoste’s fragrance licensee.
“Fragrances really have been a part of what we’ve been trying to do for many years,” continued Michel Lacoste, René Lacoste’s son and chairman of the Lacoste board.
Multiple links exist between the Lacoste polo shirt and Eau de Lacoste L.12.12, the Lacoste label’s first collection of men’s fragrances. For one, its name integrates the original shirt’s L.12.12 moniker. And as the white polo is today part of a multicolored line, so, too, the Blanc Edition scent is in a collection including Vert and Bleu versions. A textile crocodile emblem appears on the fragrance bottle, as well.
With the packaging — like with the rest of the Eau de Lacoste project — the aim was to capture the “simplicity of the Lacoste polo shirt,” said Tim Sayler, P&G Prestige marketing director for Lacoste fragrances.
In Eau de Lacoste’s single- and double-page print campaign photographed by Kay Mücke, the shape of the fragrance flacon is visible through the shirt’s fabric.
The video spot directed by Fleur & Manu features an origamist’s hands transforming a Lacoste polo shirt into the scent bottle. It’s set to music by hip-hop pioneer Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five. The ad, for media like TV and Internet, includes 20- and 15-second formats.
Blanc was created by P&G with Givaudan and includes notes of grapefruit, rosemary and vetiver. Bleu was concocted by P&G with Firmenich and contains notes of grapefruit, peppermint and oak moss. Vert, also by P&G with Givaudan, has notes of bergamot, verbena and blue lavender.
The fragrances have just been launched in France, while the introduction elsewhere in Western Europe begins in April. Canada, Latin America, the Middle East and Asia are to get the scents in May, and a U.S. launch is slated for fall.
P&G executives would not discuss sales projections, but industry sources estimate Eau de Lacoste will generate at least $100 million in retail sales during its first year worldwide. The 30-ml. and 100-ml. eau de toilette sprays are priced in France at 39 euros and 69 euros, respectively, or $52.50 and $92.90 at current exchange.