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Ralph Lauren Launches Fourth Scent in Polo Franchise

L'Oreal is looking for its fourth winner in the Ralph Lauren polo men's fragrance series with its latest entry, Polo Double Black.

NEW YORK — L’Oréal USA is looking to score a fourth winner in the men’s fragrance sweepstakes, with Polo Double Black, the latest installment in its series of Polo fragrances.

A year ago, L’Oréal’s Ralph Lauren Fragrance Division launched Polo Black and it shot up through the rankings, settling into number five in U.S. department stores, where it now resides, according to executives quoting NPD Beauty. “This was the most successful [Ralph Lauren] men’s launch in a four-month period,” said Serge Jureidini, general manager of the Designer Fragrance Division, who is due to become head of the division Saturday, when Jack Wiswall vacates the presidency and moves into a corporate role. Jureidini added that Polo Black ranks in the top 10 internationally.

Counting Lauren’s men’s and women’s fragrances together, Jureidini maintains that Ralph Lauren is the number-one resource operating on the fragrance bar in department stores.

Last year’s Polo Black followed the 2002 entry, Polo Blue. They are the offspring of the original green-hued Polo, which was launched in 1978. The Black, Blue and Green versions all rank in the top 10 of men’s department store fragrances.

For Polo Double Black, the company is shooting for the top five, when the new fragrance makes its debut in 2,000 department store doors early October. One of the ways in which Double Black was designed to stand out is that it is the first Oriental scent in Lauren’s men’s stable.

“In the lifestyle of the Polo man, there are many facets. We’re now taking it to a new level,” said Signe Gammeltoft, president of Ralph Lauren Fragrances Worldwide. “It’s the new sexier, edgier chapter in the luxurious life of the Polo man and the Polo lifestyle. Our man is worldly and a globe-trotter. He’s more individual and more edgy.”

Continuing the story of Polo Black by targeting men between the ages of 25 and 45, the company hopes the new dimension of edginess — a concept that will be carried out in everything from the packaging to the advertising — will recruit a new customer.

“We wanted to leverage the iconic polo player logo and provide a distinctive fragrance and design. It was key for us to craft a fragrance that really connects to the ultimate expression of seduction,” said Richard Pinabel, vice president of global marketing worldwide for Ralph Lauren Fragrances.

Ed Fox, senior vice president of domestic marketing, added that the accumulated Polo imagery has built up a great deal of credibility. “The Polo lifestyle is an amazing positioning and starting point. It has a great equity to build upon.”

Created by Ellen Molner of Givaudan, Polo Double Black is a fresh Oriental scent composed of top notes of mango and pepper, middle notes of roasted coffee and Indonesian nutmeg and bottom notes of rich woods along with cardamom and juniper berry spices. Though both Polo Double Black and Polo Black use mango as the opening accord, Polo Black emits a freshness, while Double Black offers a spicy aromatic Oriental fusion.

While L’Oréal does not break out sales projections or advertising budgets, industry sources estimate that Polo Double Black will have to do $30 million at retail to land in the top five. According to market sources, last year’s Polo Black did $35 million in the first four months of its launch.

Double Black’s marketing positioning is reflected in the bottle design and packaging, which was designed by Bormioli Rocco. The black against black play between the matte and glossy finish on both the bottle and the outer packaging aims to give it a sharper, edgier appearance. The fragrance will be available in two sizes — $47.50 for a 2.5-oz. eau de toilette and $65 for a 4.2-oz. EDT. There will also be After Shave Splash, which will retail at $45 for 4.2 oz.

Following domestic launch in October, Polo Double Black will roll out internationally in select foreign markets.

In the U.S., print advertising will break in 20 October men’s and women’s fashion, lifestyle and beauty magazines. According to Fox, 50 million scented impressions will be made. Shot by Bruce Weber, the ads will feature Ralph Lauren model Nacho Figueras, who appeared in Polo Black and men’s fashion ads.

Industry sources estimate that the advertising and promotional budget for the launch could amount to $10 million.