By  on May 19, 2006

NEW YORK — Coty is hoping that the deal it signed for its new “Desperate Housewives” fragrance will usher in a new model for licensing.

Coty and Touchstone Television, which produces the hit TV show, signed a deal in March to produce Forbidden Fruit, the new women’s fragrance. Unlike most other celebrity beauty products, the new scent is based on a show, rather than an individual star, and is developed with a production company.

Coty chief Bernd Beetz said in March that a deal like this gives Coty a platform for a lifestyle brand — one, he hinted, that could lead to additional partnerships with studios.

Certainly, Coty — which holds the licenses of Jennifer Lopez, Sarah Jessica Parker and Celine Dion, among others — is an acknowledged celebrity scent powerhouse. But Dennis Keogh, senior vice president of marketing for Coty Prestige, believes the “Housewives” license brings a new dimension to the house’s celebrity bent.

“This scent is based around a show, a concept — not around a particular star, like most of the other celebrity projects,” said Keogh. “It takes the genre to a whole new level.”

With the program’s estimated 30 million viewers, there’s plenty to get desperate about, added Teri Siegel, vice president of marketing for Coty Prestige, a division of Coty Inc. “Our goal is to turn all of the viewers into fragrance users,” she said.

That’s a reasonable goal, thinks Bruce Gersh, senior vice president of business development for ABC Entertainment and Touchstone Television. “We’ve seen a tremendous response to the ‘Desperate Housewives’ product line extensions,” said Gersh. “Coty was the obvious choice for the ‘Desperate Housewives’ fragrance. They pioneered the celebrity fragrance category, and have a very successful track record with major brands.”

Forbidden Fruit, concocted by Firmenich, is a fruity floriental. Top notes are of crisp Rome apples, orange flowers and ripe, juicy peaches, with a heart of wisteria (naturally, given the fact that the characters live on Wisteria Lane), jasmine, ylang-ylang and passion lily. The drydown is of cedarwood, sandalwood, vanilla and tonka bean. Forbidden Fruit’s bottle of frosted glass with a scarlet cap is intended to be reminiscent of an apple, noted Siegel.One stockkeeping unit, a 3.4-oz. eau de parfum retailing for $49.50, will be produced.

Forbidden Fruit will be launched in mid-September and will be exclusive to Macy’s nationwide, in a distribution of about 700 doors. It also will be sold at macys.com. While none of the executives would comment on projected sales or advertising spending, industry sources estimated that the fragrance could do $5 million to $8 million in its first year on counter, and that advertising and promotional spending would likely top $1 million during the launch season.

National print advertising, planned for September celebrity lifestyle magazines such as In Style and People, features the show’s leading ladies — Felicity Huffman as Lynette, Teri Hatcher as Susan, Marcia Cross as Bree, Eva Longoria as Gabrielle and Nicollette Sheridan as Edie — arrayed on a bed of red apples. Personal appearances by the “Housewives” are being discussed, although nothing is final, said Siegel.

None of the players would reveal if they’ll be back for another bite of the apple with a men’s fragrance or additional women’s fragrances. But Gersh isn’t ruling it out. “Given the popularity of show and how women all over the world have embraced the ladies of Wisteria Lane, that is definitely a possibility,” he said. “Our focus, at the moment, is on working with Coty to make Forbidden Fruit a huge success.”

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