GIORGIO GETS HIP WITH HUGO

Byline: Julie L. Belcove

NEW YORK--Giorgio Beverly Hills thinks it's come up with an answer to CK One and Tommy. It's called Hugo.
For its first fragrance launch since being acquired by Procter & Gamble and joining forces with Eurocos a year ago, Giorgio is launching a new men's scent from German designer Hugo Boss. Linda LoRe, president and chief executive officer of Giorgio, said the scent, targeted at men age 16 to 28, should shoot to the top five in stores where it's carried.
Giorgio executives declined to discuss volume projections, but industry sources estimate the company is expecting $25 million in retail shipments, with close to an 80 percent sell-through from its introduction in late October through the holiday selling season.
With the launch of Hugo in a broad distribution of 1,800 doors, Giorgio will be going head-to-head with the major players in the men's market: Calvin Klein Cosmetics, Ralph Lauren Fragrances and Aramis. LoRe said the Boss name gives Giorgio a big dose of clout.
"This really gives us the credibility we need by having a men's designer," she said.
LoRe added that the company is "very bullish" on Wings for Men, as well, and is working on a new ad campaign for the brand, which bowed last year.
Hugo is of broader significance to Giorgio, LoRe said, because it will be the first designer fragrance ever launched by the house.
The Giorgio scents--the signature brand, Red and Wings--are all lifestyle brands. The company is in discussions with other potential licensees, LoRe said, but she declined to name them.
"Four years, five months from now is the new millennium, and we want to be the number-one fragrance house by then," LoRe said. In the latest reported figures, Giorgio and Eurocos each posted $165 million in 1993 volume for a total of $330 million.
In developing Hugo in conjunction with the German-based Eurocos, Giorgio executives think they have tapped into the mind-set of men in Generation X. The company conducted "hothouse panels" of young men. Beth Stolrow, brand manager, described the method as more conversational and wide-ranging than the more structured approach of standard focus groups.
Among the useful information Giorgio gleaned, Stolrow said, is that this generation of men uses more fragrance than its older counterparts.
"They like to wear it," she said. "It's part of their lives. There weren't any fragrance virgins."
Stolrow also said that 70 percent of young men buy their own fragrance, as opposed to almost the opposite for older men. Additionally, the panels generated a series of insights, or "Hugoisms," that Giorgio used to create the overall marketing program. Members of the target group, for example, tend to be introspective but still seek community, value authenticity, and perceive multiculturalism as a way of life, according to the research.
The ad campaign, photographed in grainy black and white, aims to draw on those themes. The print ad features model Werner Schreyer sans the typical babe. It reads, "The world is getting smaller. Smell better," and has the tag line, "Don't imitate. Innovate."
Stolrow said the panels were helpful in creating a campaign that did not condescend.
"They could read Generation X advertising a mile away," she said. "It was very important for us to be honest."
Following in the footsteps of Calvin Klein, Giorgio is linking the new fragrance to Boss's younger, more casual fashion line, which is also called Hugo.
The Hugo clothing line made its U.S. debut last spring, but unlike CK Calvin Klein, it is in a limited distribution here of about 35 specialty store doors. The question remains how much name recognition the Hugo name can muster.
LoRe said the fashion line is beginning to be advertised here--using the same model as the fragrance--and the two campaigns will work synergistically.
"The name Hugo Boss is very highly recognizable," she said, adding that the Hugo scent is "the affordable Hugo Boss."
Giorgio executives also emphasized that Hugo is not a copycat of CK One or Tommy by Tommy Hilfiger.
"We are really going out and targeting males," Stolrow said. "Even Tommy has sort of gone after both [sexes]. We really are talking about a mind-set, an attitude, versus a look."
"CK One, of course, is shared, and this is all about being individual," added Larry Allgaier, vice president of marketing. He said that Hugo has more "urban grit" than Tommy.
With a pre-holiday launch planned, LoRe said Hugo will need to make a big bang to get noticed.
"We had the choice of waiting until spring and doing a slow rollout or going when the traffic is in the stores," she said. "Our challenge is to make enough noise that the consumer hears us."
To make that noise, Giorgio plans to mount what sources say is an $8 million to $10 million ad campaign in the final 2 1/2 months of the year.
It will include co-op TV during the launch and network TV in the holiday period, 30 million scented strips, outdoor advertising in major markets and movie theater advertising.
In addition to the major fashion and beauty magazines, Stolrow said, the company hopes to capture the "opinion leaders early on" by placing prelaunch ads in a group of trendy publications, including Wired, Vibe, Interview, George, Paper, Details, Detour and Swing. Giorgio also will distribute 300,000 scented postcards to restaurants, clubs and bars, Stolrow said.
To capitalize on the target market's techno-savvy--and to reinforce Hugo's claim to supreme hipness--Giorgio is sponsoring an avant-garde poetry contest on the Internet. Contestants may tap into Giorgio's World Wide Web site, called Hugo Web-Word Slam, and submit a work of what the company described as underground rap-poetry performance art.
Other fragrance companies, including Compar and Lancaster Group, have begun to use cyberspace to market their scents, but Giorgio claims that the contest, which is slated to begin in October, will be the first artistic competition ever held on the Internet.
The Hugo sampling effort will include two million packettes with one to two uses each, 100,000 mini massage-oil bottles and tongue-in-cheek instruction booklets offered with magazine "bounce-back cards," two million blotters and 35,000 sets of miniatures with the Boss, Boss Elements and Hugo scents.
"One of the biggest things we need to do is get people to try the fragrance, get it on their skin," LoRe said, adding that she anticipates 50 million consumers will try Hugo this year.
One of the quirkier ways some of those consumers may be testing the scent is from a two-foot-high Hugo tester can resembling an exterminator's spray can. The giant can, which can be slung over the fragrance model's shoulder or placed on counters, will be in all major doors. LoRe said the idea is to "poke fun at ourselves."
Allgaier said price points are competitive with Tommy and CK One. Hugo will have an opening price point of $26 for a 1.3-oz. eau de toilette.
"That's specifically for the consumer who would never buy a $30-plus item, people who would not normally even enter the category," he said.
The range also will include a 3.4-oz. eau de toilette for $37.50, a 5.1-oz. version for $50 and a 3.4-oz. aftershave for $30. Three ancillary items will be a 6.7-oz. body massage oil for $26, a 3.4-oz. aftershave balm for $26 and a 2.5-oz. deodorant stick for $14.
The juice, developed by Givaudan-Roure, is an aromatic woods. After an initial citrus and herbaceous burst, Hugo dries down to moss and wood notes. Bob Aliano, vice president of creative, said extensive consumer research went into the selection of the juice.
The bottle is reminiscent of a canteen, and the silver cap is attached by a green canvas strap.
In the stores, Giorgio will display Hugo on countertop stands, said Carolyn Tastad, vice president of sales. Some doors also will have freestanding units providing self-service.
If Hugo meets plan, it will surpass the seven-year-old Boss by Hugo Boss, the original Boss fragrance, which Allgaier said "still has a loyal group of consumers." The Boss franchise also includes Boss Elements, which is still rolling out in the U.S., and Boss Spirit and Boss Sport, both of which have a negligible presence in the U.S.
Allgaier said Hugo is part of a Giorgio effort to refresh all of its brands, noting, "Hugo puts us back on track to make Hugo Boss a top player in men's."

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