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Disney Uses Scents to Tap Tweens

What does tween spirit smell like?

Beauty items from Disney Consumer Products.

LOS ANGELES — What does tween spirit smell like?

If Disney Consumer Products has its say, the answer will be orange creamsicle this fall. That’s the scent of the debut High School Musical fragrance, which is hitting shelves in wide release timed to profit from the mania surrounding the Aug. 17 airing of the popular Disney Channel original movie’s sequel.

“There is definitely a bigger window of opportunity now [because of the] momentum the Disney Channel started garnering with the That’s So Raven franchise and is building up with Hannah Montana, High School Musical and Cheetah Girls,” said Johanna Mooney, director of food, health and beauty at Disney Consumer Products. “We are trying to respond to those girls’ needs to have products that feed the lifestyle they aspire to.”

Disney Consumer Products cracked the tween perfume market two years ago with That’s So Raven and continued to expand its presence earlier this year by launching the Hannah Montana fragrance at Club Libby Lu in March. According to Rebecca Killian, senior vice president of creative and marketing for Boom LLC, the Disney Consumer Products licensee that develops the fragrances, thousands of Hannah Montana units are sold per week.

“Hannah Montana has surpassed our expectations. We are cautiously excited to see how High School Musical performs,” said Killian. “With all that Disney is doing with that [High School Musical] brand, it is hard to think it is not going to be just as successful.” Disney Consumer Products declined to project sales for the High School Musical fragrance.

The High School Musical items have begun to be shipped to Claire’s Stores Inc. locations and will be introduced in Kmart and Wal-Mart for back-to-school and holiday, when gift sets are critical to the merchandising strategy. The High School Musical fragrance is $12 for 1 oz. and $7.50 for 0.5 oz.

After That’s So Raven rolled out, Disney Consumer Products evaluated its approach to the beauty industry last year by conducting a study of 150 tweens to determine their preferences. Mooney outlined several fragrance findings: girls gravitate toward fruity notes; they typically mirror their adult women counterparts in having 2.7 fragrances on rotation and they desire age-appropriate products. Clinique Happy, New York Chic and L.A. Style by Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, and Britney Spears’ Curious are often among the perfumes in girls’ fragrance stockpiles.

“We knew that moms were very careful about what they let their girls wear, but we were pleasantly surprised to know the girls also want that,” said Mooney. “It is important that the girls feel the moms will approve.”

In the pricing, Disney Consumer Products discovered that, although a few girls will buy $50 perfumes, sticking to around the $12 mark drives volume. And in packaging, featuring images of the Disney Channel show’s cast members — stars of “High School Musical” include Zac Efron, Ashley Tisdale and Vanessa Hudgens — is important for customers to identify with the products.

“They see the High School Musical kids jumping up in the air [on the box] and are like, ‘Grab that,'” said Killian.