Travel Retail as Brand-Building Environment

Beauty companies have been staging ever more creative programs in the channel.

CANNES, France — “The travel-retail environment is emerging more forcefully as a brand-building environment,” said Bill Brace, vice president of global marketing development and operations at P&G Prestige, during the most recent Tax Free World Association meeting here in October.

And the retail-tainment quotient has been rising in step.

Shiseido’s Beauté Prestige International staged a multibrand event with Gebr. Heinemann, for instance, with fragrances from Issey Miyake, Jean Paul Gaultier, Elie Saab and Narciso Rodriguez. Called A Scented Tour Around the World, the promotion took place in airports such as Frankfurt, Copenhagen and Istanbul.

Eric Henry, BPI’s chief operating officer, said it was very effective. “There is a story, and there is a real experience for the consumer,” he added. “It’s not driven by the gift.”

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Another creative airport promotion, with Aldeasa, was for BPI’s Pleats Please fragrance that involved dancers sporting Miyake’s colorful clothing.

Retail-tainment has been a priority for Guerlain, as well. In springtime, the LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton-owned brand relaunched its women’s fragrance La Petite Robe Noire that’s backed by the animated advertising campaign created by Olivier Kuntzel and Florence Deygas. To further bring the project to life, some beauty advisers were clad in little black dresses (in keeping with the scent’s raison d’être) and dancing events took place, for example.

Guerlain will keep building on the fragrance project by launching in March an eau de toilette version of La Petite Robe Noire in markets that until now only had the eau de parfum iteration, which includes most countries save for Russia and Asia. And it will be vice versa for the edp. Altogether, there are to be three to four new advertisements for La Petite Robe Noire annually.

“The theme of next year is going to be a party in Paris,” said Laurent Boillot, Guerlain’s chief executive officer.

Meanwhile, Clarins Fragrance Group has begun testing a travel-retail exclusive product in Aélia, called Mugler Show, which was conceived for “an easy impulse buying approach,” according to Joël Palix, CFG’s president. “The initial results are quite good.”

He added, “I think one day travel retail will represent 20 to 25 percent of fragrance sales worldwide. Today, it’s 15, 16, 17 percent, according brands.”

As one of its travel-retail promotions, Procter & Gamble set out to create the Gucci universe in the Istanbul airport around a limited-edition Fiat 500 car designed by the fashion brand.

Murat Akyildiz, managing director of global distributor operations for global retail in Asia and Pacific for P&G Prestige, noted that in the channel there’s been an increase in investment backing refurbishments and boutiques designed to be more engaging for shoppers. He gave as an example “walk-through stores” conceived so passengers are obliged literally to pass through them.