NEW YORK — Coty bid bon voyage to landlubbers this week when it unfurled Nautica's first scent in three years, a men's fragrance called Voyage, and introduced a new spokesman and ad campaign for Davidoff Cool Water.
At The Water Club here Tuesday, Coty unveiled the new Nautica eau de toilette, a fresh, aquatic fougere scent. Thursday night, the company presented Laird Hamilton as the new face of Cool Water at Divine Studio (see story, this page).
"Coty overall is the biggest fragrance company in the world," Bernd Beetz, the company's chief executive officer, told attendees at the Nautica event. "We think we are the most successful fragrance company in the world."
He asserted Coty is building its fragrance business around three pillars: "designer, lifestyle [and] celebrity" brands, Nautica and Davidoff being part of the lifestyle portfolio. "All elements of [Nautica] make us very excited. This introduction provides newness to an already well-established brand and will help to energize the men's fragrance category."
"Today is a very exciting day," said Denise Seegal, president and ceo of parent VF Corp.'s sportswear coalition and president and ceo of Nautica. She pointed to the fact that Nautica Voyage is the brand's first fragrance launch with Coty, since the beauty company acquired Nautica fragrances in its $800 million buy this year of Unilever's prestige fragrance business. Voyage is slated to reach about 2,000 to 2,200 doors in the U.S. in April.
Seegal, who joined Nautica a year ago from JLo — another of Coty's fragrance licenses — noted Nautica's partnership with Coty is an important part of the plan to double the size of Nautica into a $4 billion global brand in the next five years.
"Fragrance is the first entry point [into a brand] for consumers," she said, adding a "long line" of Nautica fragrances are to shove off after Voyage, including a women's scent as early as next year.
Dennis M. Keogh, vice president of marketing for Lancaster Group U.S., referred to Nautica's plan to introduce a women's sportswear collection for fall 2006. Added Seegal, "The women's component [will] give us a great growth opportunity."The Nautica brand is available in 40 countries worldwide and, while there are plans to roll out Voyage internationally, they have not yet been finalized. Prior Nautica fragrances, including Competition, are still on the market. However, Voyage will represent the brand's most significant U.S. department store effort, Seegal noted.
Executives, who declined to discuss sales projections, are aiming for a top-10 ranking with Voyage. Industry sources estimate the scent could generate upward of $20 million in first-year retail sales volume. Roughly $10 million to $12 million will reportedly be spent to support the fragrance with promotion and advertising.
A print ad campaign picturing Carter Oosterhouse is scheduled to break in April magazines. Oosterhouse, a Michigan native who is now based in Los Angeles, made his mark on The Learning Channel's "Trading Spaces" as a hunky carpenter and is a contributor to TV shows like "Three Wishes" and "Today" on NBC.
Seegal described Oosterhouse as an "accomplished sailor," and his skills were tested during the Voyage photo shoot off the coast of Brazil.
There was a bit of drama aboard the custom-built, 50-foot sailboat that served as the set — including high seas, seasickness and an engine fire on a support vessel. Suddenly, the campaign's "know no boundaries" tag line gained new relevance. Nevertheless, the crew, including photographer Mikael Jansson, composed an image of Oosterhouse at the helm, pushing 12 knots downwind.
Beetz said Oosterhouse "impressively epitomizes" the Nautica brand.
Voyage was blended by Maurice Roucel of Symrise. The heart of the scent features a "sailcloth accord," which is described as a mixture of hemp, air and sea aromas. The heart of the scent, which also includes mimosa and water lotus, is preceded by top notes of green leaf and apple and followed by a base of cedar wood, musk, moss and woody amber.
The bow-shaped bottle was inspired by wind in a sail and its cap is in the shape of a winch on a sailboat. Voyage will be available in 1.7-oz. and 3.4-oz. versions priced at $44 and $58, respectively. A $45, 3.4-oz. aftershave splash will accompany the collection, as will a $16 deodorant stick.While Nautica is known for its performance clothing, it is too early for executives to speculate whether such a positioning would translate into Nautica toiletries — namely items such as body care products employing advanced treatment ingredients.
"Now, men want skin care," said Seegal. "It's a natural [brand] extension more so today than it was in the past." She added, though, that whether Nautica would enter that category "depends on consumer research on these product areas."
Nautica is a "fantastic concept" as a lifestyle brand, said Beetz. "We started with fragrance and there are no concrete plans to go beyond that." He acknowledged this scenario could change, noting that he likes to take a holistic approach to brand building. However, it depends upon consumer reaction, he said.
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