By  on December 9, 2005

NEW YORK — Lancaster is putting a wave of support behind one of its classic franchises this spring.

Beginning in March, Davidoff Cool Water, first launched in 1988, will be bolstered by a new TV and print advertising campaign featuring aquatic athlete Laird Hamilton.

And Françoise Mariez, senior vice president of European licenses for the Lancaster Group, stresses that the new animation is "not just an ad campaign." It is, in a sense, a relaunch of a classic, she emphasized during a telephone interview from Paris.

"This effort is about pushing Cool Water back to the front of the scene," she said. "This is a very impactful scent and we believe that this endorsement, combined with a p.r. and point-of-sale program, will build value for this classic. We want to defend our classic brands, not just do new launches. Cool Water is among the top three brands worldwide, and it is facing competition from the wave of new men's fragrances on the market. We have no intention of allowing our competition to take over that territory."

The campaign, which will feature Hamilton — the Hawaii-based athlete perhaps best known for his surfing prowess — will break in March magazines. TV ads will begin running shortly before Father's Day in June. The campaign is being introduced in the U.S., although Mariez noted that it's likely that the campaign will roll out to other markets as well. She also hinted that Lancaster would undertake a similar ad campaign for Cool Water Woman sometime next year, although she declined to elaborate.

Neither Mariez nor Dennis Keough, vice president of marketing for Lancaster U.S., would comment on the ad spend for the campaign, although industry sources estimated that Lancaster would spend at least $10 million from March through December on the ads.

The ads will include a new Davidoff logo, with block type rather than the script used in past ads. It will also introduce a new tag line — "The Power of Cool." A counter display is fashioned after surfboards, and even the gift sets get into the spirit — one includes the scent, ancillaries and a "water-resistant" watch.

"Our retail partners are treating this as a launch in terms of support, and so is Lancaster," said Keough, adding that Cool Water was "the first aquatic, aromatic-fresh scent." It has top notes of peppermint and orange, a heart of lavender and jasmine and a drydown with notes of sensual amber and musk. "We wanted to take all of the equity that we have in the brand to reenergize this classic, and maintain and update its core values," Keough added. "Our goal is to get this scent back in the top 10." It is now in the mid-teens in the rankings in the U.S., although it is the third largest on a global basis. Neither Mariez nor Keough would quantify that ranking with a number, but sources estimated that Cool Water would have to do at least $30 million at retail to be in the top 10.

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