FAR AND AWAY, IT'LL BE AVON'S BIGGEST LAUNCH

Byline: Soren Larson

NEW YORK--Avon will undertake its first worldwide launch in September with Far Away, a women's fragrance.
The event marks the first time a product has been introduced simultaneously in all of Avon's 100 or so markets, and also is expected to be the company's biggest fragrance launch ever.
"We have very high expectations for this product," said Susan Kropf, senior vice president of global marketing. "Of course, all our information is qualitative, since we haven't started selling it yet. But we hope to break all records. That's our internal goal."
Kropf said the record holder for most successful fragrance launch at Avon is Imari, a women's scent introduced in 1985.
She would not divulge a sales volume for the item, but industry sources estimate it did more than $20 million in its first three months.
Kropf noted that the company had not initially planned a global introduction for Far Away, but eventually decided that the product's concept and imagery were sufficiently universal to justify such a move.
"It started as something intended for the U.S. market," she said. "But from our research we found that women all over have in common a desire for a momentary escape and a respite from stress. Since that's the concept behind the packaging and the fragrance itself, we thought we could launch it everywhere."
The scent will be sold by Avon's 1.7 million direct-sales representatives beginning Sept. 20, which coincides with Avon's 22nd sales campaign of the year. The campaigns last for two weeks.
To support the launch, Avon is planning its first TV ad campaign for a fragrance since 1988, when Undeniable was promoted by a TV spot.
The ad is scheduled to run for two weeks, beginning Sept. 19, in various regional markets.
While TV will be the only advertising tool in the U.S., Avon's international markets, which include Asia, Europe and Central and South America, will see print and TV campaigns.
Far Away will also be sampled in September, when Avon will distribute "millions of vials on cards," according to Kropf.
The Far Away scent, which was created by Givaudan-Roure, is a floral-oriental. It will be sold in two forms: a 1.7-oz. eau de parfum spray for $18.50 and a 0.5-oz. parfum for $45.
A body lotion, body cream, bath and shower gel, body talc and dusting powder will be introduced early next year, Kropf said.
"We're trying to position this as being at the top end of our mass fragrance range," she said. "It's priced a bit higher than our typical late-season launches, but it's still accessible.
"We polled our current Avon customers, and we found that 50 percent already buy prestige fragrances," she continued. "They're definitely looking for more of this type of product."
Kropf said she hoped Far Away, because of its more upscale imagery and use of an eau de parfum rather than an eau de toilette, would push Avon's fragrance business in a new direction.
"I would love for this to be the benchmark for fragrance launches going forward," she said. "We haven't done a good job, in the past, of really getting the visuals right. "This time," she said, "we put a lot of effort into the whole package."

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