Critical Mass: Puig Bets on Antonio Banderas Hat Trick

Mass market retailers hope shoppers will want to see a more seductive side of Antonio Banderas.

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NEW YORK — Mass market retailers hope shoppers will want to see a more seductive side of Antonio Banderas.

Puig Beauty Division, the North American mass market subsidiary of Puig Beauty & Fashion Group, will unleash its third Banderas scent to the U.S. in August. The fragrance, called Antonio, Antonio Banderas, is said to reflect the “natural seduction” of its namesake. The new launch follows on the success of Spirit Antonio Banderas and Spirit Antonio Banderas for Women. It is the first of the scents sold in America to feature Banderas’ image and is expected to appeal to a slightly older audience than Spirit.

Like its predecessors, Antonio, Antonio Banderas has a proven track record in Spain, where it bowed last year.

“We expect big things from Antonio and believe it will continue our strong momentum as Puig develops a powerhouse fragrance franchise in the mass market category,” said Vincent Colonna, executive vice president and general manager of the Puig Beauty Division. “We are building a brand and this is the next phase. We are taking what works from Spain.”

The new fragrance has impressive lineage. Spirit Antonio Banderas took honors for Best Men’s Fragrance, Popular Appeal at last year’s FiFi awards, as well as Best Packaging of the Year in the mass category. This year, Spirit Antonio Banderas for Women has been nominated in the women’s Popular Appeal category of 2005.

Spirit for men ranked among the top 10 mass market brands last Christmas, against stalwarts such as Drakkar Noir and Cool Water, according to data from Information Resources Inc. The women’s scent scored within the top 15, against the likes of Britney Spears and Shania Twain. Spirit is one of a handful of men’s launches credited with boosting mass market men’s sales 1.2 percent to $301.3 million from $297.7 (excluding Wal-Mart) for the 52-week period ended Jan. 28, 2006.

Industry sources estimate Antonio could achieve first-year retail sales of $30 million. Banderas has tremendous consumer appeal and his Spirit was one of the first male celebrity launches in the mass market. His popularity is expected to get a further boost from the debut of his latest film, “Take the Lead,” a ballroom-meets-hip-hop dance movie. Retailers said the scent will stand out because there is a dearth of new men’s fragrances set for the remainder of 2006.

This story first appeared in the March 24, 2006 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The new scent is not expected to cannibalize from the original since it is positioned for a broader age range and is appropriate for all times of the day. Spirit was more of a night or special-event fragrance, according to Gregory Black, director of marketing for the Puig Beauty Division. Spirit was most popular among those 20 to 30 years old, while Antonio’s appeal should stretch to consumers up to 45. The scent’s makeup is different from Spirit — it is a blend of bold peppery and citrus top notes, with a finish of smooth cashmere wood, fir balsam and musk notes. Spirit was described as modern Oriental with final notes of vanilla, amber and musk.

Antonio will have its own budget, which industry sources estimate exceeds $10 million, making it one of the biggest spenders in the men’s mass market arena. The commercials for Spirit show Banderas dancing the night away. This time, he’s in a city street and happens upon a beautiful woman.

Pricing for Antonio is in line with Spirit’s. The 0.5-oz. eau de toilette spray retails for $16.50, the 1-oz. EDT is $21.50 and the 1.7-oz. EDT spray is $30. There will be gift sets at $21 and $25.

Puig hopes to see Antonio merchandised next to the existing Banderas fragrances. Because Puig is a relatively small company in America, Colonna said it can be nimble in reacting to retailers’ needs for displays and in-store tools.

According to Puig executives, several more launches are in the works as the company establishes itself as a major brand in America. Other Puig scents in the U.S. mass market are Agatha Ruiz de la Prada, Barbie and My Scene.


Wal-Mart has opened an upscale laboratory store in Plano, Tex., that features everything from sushi to $500 bottles of wine. The beauty department is situated near food and wine to create an area for women to easily shop. This is just the latest of many moves Wal-Mart is taking — including adding more fashionable apparel — to lure new consumers to its doors. Upscale shoppers might feel more at home dealing with associates who wear khakis and polos versus those downscale blue smocks.

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