BERLIN — Are Lancaster and the Coty Group hoping to echo the success of Davidoff Cool Water with their new menswear fragrance, Echo Davidoff? “You bet we are,” exclaimed Bernd Beetz, Coty’s chief executive officer, at the international launch for Echo in Berlin.
Cool Water is no easy act to follow. A top 10 sales leader since coming out in 1988, Cool Water was the number two best-selling men’s fragrance in Europe in 2001, with “enormous dominance in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Holland,” said Lancaster president Michele Scannavini, who called Echo the most strategic launch in the Davidoff fragrance lineup in years.
“We’re counting a lot on this launch to create the second pillar to our Cool Water business,” he said. “Our objective is to be in the top five — at the minimum — with Echo in the first year.” While he would not put a figure on Echo’s projected first-year sales, industry sources say the new men’s scent could ring up more than $50 million the first year.
The high tech, yet sensual fragrance, created by Alain Astori of IFF, will be introduced in Italy and Spain next March. Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Benelux and the U.K. are to follow in April, France and Greece in May, and the United States and Asia in September. Overall, Echo will be distributed in about 14,000 doors worldwide.
The 50- and 100-ml. eau de toilette natural spray are priced at about $44 and $60.65 respectively, the 100-ml. aftershave splash at $40, 200-ml. shower gel $21.50 and 75-ml. deodorant stick $20. All dollar figures are calculated from the Euro at current exchange rates.
What Echo shares with Cool Water is what Lancaster executives sum up as Davidoff’s expression of “the intense experience of living.” But whereas Cool Water was linked to nature, Echo is unmistakably urban, its name chosen to suggest “both the sounds of a throbbing metropolis and the inner vibes of the man who lives, works and plays there.”
Moreover, Echo is targeted at a 25- to 35-year-old man — 10 years the senior of Cool Water’s core 15- to 25-year-old customer — and demographically, Scannavini said, the biggest spender on men’s fragrances.
The juice’s top note is a “living liquid air accord.” Astori chemically created new molecules based on an analysis of “very pure air” taken from a mountaintop in upstate New York. A contradiction to Echo’s urban slant? No, the perfumeur said. “Even in New York, when the wind is blowing from the ocean, one can sense the freshness, and the liquid-air harmony is what gives Echo its tempo and its freedom.”
Echo’s heart, reflecting the cool steel and glass of urban architecture, is a metallic harmony of aldehyde, pimento, nutmeg, black pepper and cardamom. “Cold, refreshing notes warmed up by spices,” he said.
And the base note, a “white suede harmony” brings in an element of comfort with sensual, velvety notes of suede, bio-musk, cedarwood and sandalwood.
Karim Rashid aimed to capture the city in Echo’s bottle design. Ergonomic yet elegant and with a slightly futuristic edge, the heavy glass bottle has a surprisingly slender profile. The surface is undulated and wrinkled, like a bottle that’s been squeezed, and the metal triangular spray cap is fully integrated into the bottle.
“The bottle is a piece of art, and it’s a way to get product visibility in less conventional media and distribution channels, like architectural and design magazines or unusual places where you’d expect to find art,” he said. As Scannavini commented, “We’d like to create a cult around this physical shape.”
Not that conventional advertising has been overlooked. Jean-Baptiste Mondino, who in one of his earlier books wrote, “I’m not interested in my ego; all that interests me is my echo,” seemed a natural to shoot the campaign. The double-page spread pairs a profile of the lightly tinted cool blue bottle on the left with a more tender image of a reclining man, his face seen through the bottle. The model is August from the Success agency, a young iron worker from Wisconsin.
The media plan is being fine-tuned country by country, said Françoise Mariez, senior vice president of marketing for fragrances. “We want to be very strong in promoting the image of the brand via ads,” she noted, adding a TV spot will also be developed. Moreover, “every special event we can build around the scent” will be considered, and she said Lancaster is paying particular attention to the way Echo is presented on the store shelves and in the windows.
“But most of all, we strongly believe in the scent,” she emphasized, and added that the sampling will be “huge.” Eight to 10 percent of the marketing budget will be devoted to sampling in the form of liquid touch in magazines, widely distributed fragrance sprays and a “really cute miniature” of the Echo bottle. The juice is still the most important aspect, she said. “At the launch, it’s key to get the experience of the fragrance to the consumer.”