By  on December 8, 2006

GENEVA — For its first fragrance under its renewed Gucci license, Procter & Gamble Prestige Products wants to woo more men.

Called Gucci Pour Homme II, it will be launched in the U.S. in early March in a tight distribution of 300 specialty store doors and then begin rolling out in May to 1,200 U.S. doors and to the rest of the world. The two companies re-signed their licensing pact in May.

Gucci Pour Homme II is a follow-up to the original, FiFi's Award-winning Gucci Pour Homme fragrance, which was launched in 2003 by former designer Tom Ford and then licensee Cosmopolitan Cosmetics.

During a recent presentation in New York, Mark Lee, chief executive officer of Gucci, stressed how the partnership with P&G is focused on becoming "the leader in this category, to be one of the top brands."

"I think we've never spent as much time on a male fragrance as we did on this one, and it really is amazing," said Markus Strobel, general manager of prestige products and fine fragrances of P&G Prestige Products, which worked on the scent for two years. He explained that P&G Prestige Products chose to launch a men's fragrance as the baptism project for the Gucci license because Gucci's fragrance business was severely underdeveloped compared to its fashion business and also under-represented in the men's market. Research indicated that Gucci is a highly desirable brand to men, especially in the U.S., said Strobel.

"We checked the market and found the dream level to aspire to the brand is really, really high — there's a huge potential for the brand that hasn't been captured," he said.

When creating the new Gucci Pour Homme II scent, P&G Prestige Products looked to the original for inspiration. "We looked at the original project, which we always liked, the bottle, its preciousness and its weight, and why the project never did take off in the first place because some things weren't 100 percent right," said Strobel.

Keeping with the original bottle's design, Gucci Pour Homme II was given luxury details like the weighty hand-brushed gold metal cap, a heavy glass rectangular flacon and a brilliant blue juice color, chosen by Frida Giannini, Gucci's creative director. Strobel also pointed out that the new scent's eau de parfum juice is four times the strength of the original Pour Homme II. The opening U.S. price point is $50 for a 50-ml. eau de toilette.Woody and spicy, Gucci Pour Homme II was created by the P&G fragrance team and Mane. The scent has top notes of bergamot and violet leaves, a heart of pimento, black tea and cinnamon and base notes of olive wood, tobacco leaves, musk and myrrh. Strobel said the formula is aimed at hitting "the sweet spot" between providing a "fresh, easy to wear' ambience, "a masculine sensuality" and a "distinct, memorable" sensation. Industry sources estimate the sales target at between $30 million and $40 million.

Meant to appeal to "the modern Italian playboy," the advertising was photographed by Mert Alas and Marcus Piggot in Ibiza and features model Mathias Lauridsen.

Strobel also noted that P&G is tightening its Gucci distribution to not more than 18,000 doors worldwide, and the company is putting the finishing touches on its first Gucci women's fragrance, which P&G hopes to launch in 2007.

"It's a transitional fragrance for them. Frida is very involved. It will be the big Gucci scent, and she is very obsessed with it," Strobel said. "It will launch the new brand architecture for the fragrance division."

Lee described the working partnership as a collaboration between Gucci's ability to develop brands through product creation, merchandising and advertising and P&G's specialized talents in perfumery, packaging and distribution.

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