HAVANA OFF TO STRONG START IN U.K.

Byline: James Fallon

LONDON--Havana, the new men's scent from Aramis, has topped its sales target at Selfridges here and achieved an aggressive plan at Harrods, the first two launch stores of an international rollout.
The scent went on sale at the two British stores the week of Sept. 12, and the event represented the debut of the fragrance, which is not being launched in the U.S.
Havana's distribution is now being expanded throughout Lauder's 7,500-door distribution, which includes Europe, the Far East, Latin America, Australia and the Mideast. Hilary Dart, fragrance buyer at Selfridges, said sales have totaled $50,240 (32,000 pounds) in the first two weeks, which is "well above target."
"I think they're on to a winner," Dart said. "It is something needed for Aramis because it's something new and different."
Jenni O'Donoghue, fragrance buyer at Harrods, said Havana has hit its "aggressive" budget and said it should do well at Christmas.
"It's a great smell, and that's always a good start," she added.
Aramis believes Havana will do more than $50 million at retail internationally over the next nine months, said John Karp, the division's vice president and general manager.
Aramis gets about 70 percent of its sales outside the U.S. "We anticipate that within the first year Havana will be our number-two fragrance, after Aramis Classic but ahead of Tuscany and New West," Karp said.
As previously noted, the U.S. division of Aramis recently decided to postpone the introduction of the fragrance in America because of the crisis caused by masses of Cubans fleeing their country.
"We don't think the issue is as sensitive outside the U.S.," said Jeanette Sarkisian Wagner, president of Estée Lauder International.
Tamara Kozlakowski, vice president for marketing at Aramis International, said the fragrance isn't meant to be associated with the current reality of Cuba. The positioning is meant to evoke the image of the freewheeling Havana of the Thirties.
"It's the image--masculine, the Thirties, romantic--rather than the name of an island city that now has political problems," she said. "It's a place where a man can live his fantasies."
The Havana line includes eau de toilette, aftershave, bath and shower gel and deodorant. The company plans to add aftershave balm and antiperspirant deodorant next spring.
The 50-ml. eau de toilette spray is priced at $36.11 (23 pounds) and the 50-ml. aftershave at $27.47 (17.50 pounds). The 200-ml. bath and shower gel retails for $21.98 (14 pounds) and the 100-ml. deodorant spray for $20.41 (13 pounds).
Aramis is advertising the fragrance heavily in British newspapers and men's and women's magazines with a heavy program of scented strips.
Tony Measom, general manager of Aramis U.K., said the company plans to disseminate 6.5 million scented strips in Britain alone between now and Christmas.
The ad campaign, both in color and black-and-white, focuses on a Thirties-style image of a man in a linen suit and Panama hat leaning against an iron balustrade of a balcony.
The bottle, made of deep frosted blue glass with a thick black top, is designed to resemble a cigar.
Havana is Aramis International's major launch of the year. The division needed a new fragrance because it has been five years since its last introduction, Karp said.
"The market today depends on launches," Karp said. "The international division pushed the development of Havana aggressively for that reason.
"In the U.S., the focus has been on Tommy Hilfiger and less on Havana, he said. "But we have no plans to launch Hilfiger internationally because he is not known in those markets. So Havana was always a huge launch for us."
The fragrance has a top note of coriander seed, anise, birch tar, juniper berry and Sicilian tangerine; a middle note of bay rum, cumin, Jamaican pimento berry, jasmine and hyacinth, and bottom notes of patchouli, cedar, myrrh, tonka bean and vanilla. It also contains a note of aromatic tobacco.
--Fairchild News Service

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