As the brand celebrates its 30th anniversary, Polo Ralph Lauren hopes its classic men’s fragrance will attract a new generation of users with Polo Modern Reserve, a scent designed to give an alternative to existing consumers while grooming their sons.
This story first appeared in the October 10, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
“We wanted to celebrate the timelessness, heritage and legacy of the brand,” said Guillaume de Lesquen, president, worldwide, of the Ralph Lauren Fragrances Division of L’Oréal. “In the men’s area, there isn’t another brand as iconic as the Polo fragrance in terms of its packaging, juice and story.”
As one of the oldest designer fragrances in the market, the Polo Ralph Lauren men’s fragrance still ranks in the top 15 men’s fragrances in the U.S., said de Lesquen citing NPD sales figures.
“With the launch of Modern Reserve, our goal is to have it land in the top 15 fragrances,” said de Lesquen.
Although company executives wouldn’t comment, industry sources expect the new fragrance to bring in $20 million in first-year retail sales, with the Polo franchise worth about $300 million.
The company is hoping to target the existing Polo Ralph Lauren consumer, in addition to a younger Polo consumer in his mid-20s and 30s, said de Lesquen.
“We wanted our fragrance to bring back our loyal users as well as a new younger consumer — the sons of the Polo customer,” said de Lesquen.
Launching this month, Polo Modern Reserve will be available in 2,500 doors including Belk’s, Macy’s and Dillard’s. For the fragrance, the company looked to the original perfumer of Polo, Carlos Benaim of International Flavors and Fragrances to reinvent the classic men’s scent. The “woody and leather” fragrance is composed of top notes of cardamom, fresh-cut basil, pimento berry; middle notes of vetyver-leather, liquid jasmine, myrrh incense; and bottom notes of humidor wood, patchouli and sueded leather. New ingredients used in the fragrance includes cardamom spice in place of chamomile in the top notes and vetyver-leather instead of tobacco in the middle notes.
“It’s a reinterpretation of the classic for today’s market that is a little stronger and more masculine but still has the same heritage,” said Leslie Marino, general manager of L’Oréal Designer Fragrance Division. “We’re using some of the same ingredients but using some of the latest technologies and using purer raw materials.”
Polo Modern Reserve is staying close to its origins by capturing its equestrian tradition with the polo player on the signature green glass, inspired by a flask.
“We wanted to celebrate the iconic bottle of the classic Polo fragrance, and pay tribute to its timeless appeal in a modern, luxurious way,” says Leena Jain, director of marketing for Ralph Lauren Fragrances.
The fragrance will be available in two sizes — a 4-oz. eau de toilette for $62.50 and a deluxe limited edition 8-oz. bottle for $200, which uses 24-karat gold and comes in a limited numbered leather box.
Instead of doing a traditional television and print advertising campaign, the company will support the Modern Reserve launch with an aggressive in store sampling effort along with visuals at the counter.
“We wanted to bring our customers back to the world of Polo by getting their attention at our stores,” said Marino.