By  on April 27, 2006

BERLIN — The Hugo Boss fragrance franchise wants to "leave a mark" with Boss Selection, its new men's scent.

Like Boss Selection men's wear, which is billed as the German fashion brand's top-of-the-line range within its Boss Black collection, the Boss Selection fragrance is meant to represent a sophisticated positioning.

"It's clearly a premium extension of our successful Boss fragrance business," said Marco Parsiegla, associate marketing director of Boss fragrances and skin care. "And it's designed to appeal to a more sophisticated and slightly more mature man." He's a man who "wants to leave a mark," Parsiegla said, referring to the scent's tag line.

German actor Thomas Kretschmann, of "King Kong" fame, will front the scent.

Boss Selection will bow globally in May in 20,000 doors of parent Procter & Gamble Co.'s prestige and professional selective distribution network. In the U.S., however, Boss Selection will be launched in limited distribution, at 350 specialty stores in May. Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdale's, Nordstrom and Hugo Boss stores will carry the scent first. A rollout to Macy's and other department stores is planned for August.

Don Loftus, president and chief executive officer of P&G prestige's U.S. division, said the distribution strategy "is an opportunity to up the position of the brand to match the clothing. We can really differentiate distribution to create a prestigious image and make it a bit more exclusive."

Although P&G executives would not speculate on first-year sales of Boss Selection, industry experts estimated the fragrance would exceed $30 million.

The scent, which is part of the aromatic fougère family, features a fresh aquatic top note, blended with a fresh green accord and mandarin, pink peppercorn and grapefruit. The heart of the scent includes petitgrain, cedar leaves, geranium leaves and star anise, while the base has cedarwood, patch­ouli, vetiver, heliotrope and a musky accord.

Eau de toilette and aftershave splash versions of Boss Selection will be available in 50-ml. and 90-ml. sizes. Ancillary items will include a 75-ml. aftershave balm, a shower gel and a deodorant spray, both 150 ml., and a deodorant stick.In Germany, the edt will retail for about 48 euros and 62 euros, or $59 and $76.10, in 50-ml. and 90-ml. versions, respectively. The aftershave splashes are 39 euros and 49 euros, or $47.90 and $60.15. The aftershave balm is 34 euros, or $41.75, and the remaining products are 21 euros, or $25.75. Prices in the U.S. will be virtually the same.

Boss Selection was "clearly inspired by the fashion," said Parsiegla — apparel that emphasizes quality tailoring, hand-finishing and the detailing generally found in custom garments. The bottle, designed by Lutz Hermann, is a square of smoky gray glass, with a black frame around the sides. The label is a horizontal black band with silver lettering. That silver and black design will be repeated in point-of-sale display materials.

Boss Selection enters new territory for the fragrance brand by engaging an actor for the first time. Kretschmann, who starred as Captain Englehorn in the 2005 remake of "King Kong" and played Pope John Paul II in ABC-TV's "Have No Fear — The Life of John Paul II," will stand behind the scent in its print and TV ads.

"He embodies the essence of Boss Selection," Parsiegla said. "He's clearly understated, but very powerful, with a mix of masculine strength and all-consuming sensitivity."

Born and raised in Dessau, in the former East Germany, Kretsch­mann trained as an Olympic swimmer. In 1982, he fled to the West to pursue his dream of becoming an actor.

"I never wanted to be involved in mediocre stuff,'' Kretschmann said. "I was always looking for the high end, and always said I want to leave a mark, to be in a film that lasts. The concept is exactly what I can relate to. It's me."

Print and TV ads will appear as the bottles hit the shelves. Michelangelo di Battista photographed the print ad in Paris and Erick Ifergan directed the TV spot in Prague.

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