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Aramis, Agassi Serve Up Scent

The Aramis team plans to add a little Life to the brand this fall with its newest fragrance - and its new spokesman, Andre Agassi.

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Andre Agassi and Evelyn Lauder at the Paris launch event.

NEW YORK — The Aramis team plans to add a little Life to the brand this fall with its newest fragrance — and its new spokesman, Andre Agassi.

The new scent, Aramis Life, rolls out globally in October. Its launch marks the first time that Aramis has had a celebrity spokesperson for one of its brands. However, John Karp, president of Aramis and the Designer Fragrances Division of the Estée Lauder Cos., is quick to point out that he sees Agassi — whom he signed in February — as a partner, rather than simply a spokesperson.

While Agassi allowed that he isn’t a fragrance expert, he noted in an interview with WWD at the fragrance’s Paris launch party that he was nevertheless very present for the creation stages of the scent. “Here was my involvement,” he recounted, describing the development of the juice. “No. No. No. Close. Closer. That’s it — I love it! I never claimed to be an expert, but what was required of me was to be well aware of what I like and don’t like. My involvement was limited but it was important [that the scent] represented me.”

While Karp doesn’t want to alienate existing users of the brand — the core of whom are in their mid-40s — he is clearly hoping that Agassi, 32, will attract a slightly younger age group to the brand. “Life is positioned chiefly as a thirtysomething brand,” said Karp. “However, it is not being positioned as a young fragrance. We’re not doing a teenage brand. We’re just appealing to the 25- to 40-year-old group, which has the highest purchase and usage rate of the fragrance market.”

The juice, developed by Firmenich in partnership with Raymond Matts, vice president of corporate fragrance development for the Estée Lauder Cos., opens with a magnetic accord of wet citrus notes, including kumquat, lime and bergamot; eases into a blend of cucumber, violet leaves, spearmint, cardamom, coriander and pepper, and has a drydown of olivewood, sandalwood, cedarwood and leather. The olivewood note is the scent’s signature, noted Matts.

The lineup includes eau de toilette sprays in two sizes, 1.7 oz. and 3.4 oz., for $39.50 and $57, respectively; a 3.4-oz. aftershave, $42; a 3.4-oz. aftershave balm, $42; a 6.7-oz. conditioning shower gel, $20, and a deodorant stick, $15. A spray deodorant will be released internationally, although not in the U.S., said Mary John Baumann, executive director of global marketing for Aramis and Designer Fragrances.

The bottle, deep blue ridged glass with a polished silver spray-through top, has the Aramis Life logo etched into the cap. The cartons are also of deep blue, with a matte-metal finish.

In the U.S., the lineup will be available in Aramis’ full distribution of about 1,800 department and specialty store doors. While none of the executives would comment on projected first-year sales or advertising spending, industry sources estimated that the new scent would do about $80 million at retail globally, with about $30 million of that done in U.S. retail sales, and that about $15 million would be spent on advertising and promotion.

A heavy sampling campaign is planned, with more than 120 million scented impressions slated globally, about 70 million of them in the U.S., said Carol Russo, vice president of sales and marketing for Aramis and Designer Fragrances. In addition, about 10 million spray vials on cards will be distributed, and the brand will sample the aftershave gel in the U.S. and the shower gel internationally, both driven by bounceback cards, added Baumann. While Agassi will not be doing appearances, there will be a “major thrust on in-store activity,” including two Christmas gift sets, she said.

Aramis is also getting into TV advertising for the first time with this fragrance, with a commercial that will be co-opped in 20 key markets at launch and more at Christmas, said Russo. A national print advertising campaign is also planned, breaking in October men’s consumer magazines, including Maxim, Men’s Health and ESPN Magazine. The ad, shot last week by Peter Lindbergh, features Agassi preparing for an evening out. While Aramis was keeping further details of the ad under wraps, Agassi slipped one hint about its tone.

“Let me put it this way,” he quipped. “My wife fell in love with me all over again.”

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