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Paco Rabanne’s Invictus Scent Plays on Victory

The fragrance bottle is in the shape of a trophy, and wings (of victory) appear on the scent’s outer box.

PARIS — Invictus, Paco Rabanne’s new men’s scent, is about the sweet smell of victory.

This story first appeared in the July 12, 2013 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

“We thought it was time to come with a new masculine aspect of the brand,” said José Manuel Albesa, chief brand officer at Puig, which owns the label.

He added Rabanne fragrances are always about different fantasies — being a rock star with Black XS, or being rich and famous with 1 Million (today the world’s top-selling prestige men’s scent) and Lady Million. Each one has an ironic twist, too.

“We wanted to explore the fantasy of victory,” said Albesa. “We thought it was a completely different way to do a sports fragrance à la Rabanne. There is a mix that is quite sexy and at the same time daring. It’s around the ecstasy of victory.”

To wit: The fragrance bottle — designed with Cédric Ragot — is in the shape of a trophy, and wings (of victory) appear on the scent’s outer box.

For the advertising “we wanted to [blend] reality and mythology,” continued Albesa.

Australian rugby player Nick Youngquest fronts the campaign, whose spot unfolds like an epic saga replete with colossal gods and goddesses. The victorious athlete enters a stadium, poses for photographers, then displays superhuman power to foil charging opponents. When he returns to the locker room, a bevy of beauties await him. He grins impishly.

Nick Thornton Jones and Warren du Preez photographed the print advertisement.

For the juice, created by International Flavors & Fragrances’ Véronique Nyberg with Anne Flipo, Olivier Polge and Dominique Ropion, freshness was key. The scent contains a marine accord plus notes of grapefruit zest and bay leaf for a “sense of ecstasy taking off,” and notes of guaiac wood, ambergris and patchouli for an “addictive quality,” according to the company.

Invictus was launched in Europe’s travel-retail channel on July 1 and in France on Tuesday.

In August, it will enter countries including Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Israel. The scent is to be launched in markets such as Italy, Spain, Sweden and Denmark in September, followed by a debut in some South American countries and Singapore in October. Invictus is slated for a 2014 U.S. launch.

To help propel its kickoff, a reality show, called “Invictus Award,” will start airing this month on YouTube. It features seven athletes from an equal number of disciplines and countries who live together and compete to win 50,000 euros, or $65,280 at current exchange, to help fund a sports-related, socially involved project and become the face of the Invictus Calendar for 2015. Viewers will choose the laureate between August and October.

While Puig executives would not discuss sales projections, industry sources estimate Invictus will generate first-year retail sales of 160 million euros, or $209.6 million.

In France, the 50-ml. eau de toilette is to retail for 54 euros, or $70.75, while the 100-ml. edt version will be 72 euros, or $94.35.