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Beauty Beat: H2 Follows Hummer Fragrance

Hummer, the sport utility vehicle-inspired fragrance that was launched last summer, has been followed up by - what else? - H2, another men's scent.

NEW YORK — Hummer, the sport utility vehicle-inspired fragrance that was launched last summer, has been followed up by — what else? — H2, another men’s scent.

There’s even a possibility that an H3 scent could be produced, considering General Motors Corp. launched the “more fuel-efficient” H3 SUV in the spring. Such a scent could attract a female customer to the Hummer fragrance business, speculated executives at Riviera Concepts, the Toronto-based fragrance manufacturer licensed by GM to produce Hummer scents.

But for now, Riviera’s got its sights set on H2, a project that Adrian Ellis, president of Riviera Concepts, contended was inspired by an automotive industry that’s constantly reinventing itself. “We’re following on the way that car [companies] are launching new cars every year,” Ellis said of the Hummer fragrance business. “We’re partly tying that into fragrance.”

The H2 scent could generate between $15 million and $20 million in global retail sales volume, according to industry sources, with North America accounting for the bulk of that volume. Plans call for the scent to reach about 1,500 department and specialty store doors in North America — including Federated Department Stores Inc. locations, Dillard’s and Sephora stores — this week.

Instead of the signature Hummer yellow, which was used on packaging for the inaugural Hummer scent, the H2 packaging  features a red motif — the same red used by GM on the H2 truck, Ellis noted. The H2 fragrance bottle — designed by Jerome Dinand of Arketip Design Studio and manufactured by Bormioli Rocco E. Figlio — is virtually the same as the original bottle, save for the red top of H2’s spray pump and the logo on the bottle.

H2, an eau de toilette that was blended by Vincent Schaller of Firmenich, features top notes of cinnamon, mandarin peel and bergamot; a heart of cardamom, bourbon pepper and elemi, and a base of incense and red myrrh. It’s described as a “warmer” scent than Hummer, which has accords of thyme and fir, cardamom and peppercorn and amber and sandalwood. H2 targets 18- to 35-year-olds, a younger demographic than the 25- to 45-year-olds targeted by Hummer. “Younger guys know about these aspirational vehicles,” said Ellis.

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The H2 scent will come in 4.2-oz., 2.5-oz. and 1.3-oz. versions, at $54, $42 and $24, respectively. Ancillary products, including a 4.2-oz. aftershave splash for $42, a 6.8-oz. body wash for $18 and a 2.6-oz. deodorant for $14, will accompany the eau de toilette.

To support H2, Riviera has embarked on a promotional campaign reportedly worth between $6 million and $8 million. An in-store sampling effort will employ LiquaTouch sample packets, a sealed, scent-saturated towelette produced by Arcade Marketing. Scented pieces will also be blown into retailer catalogues.

Ellis projected that worldwide distribution of H2 could reach 3,000 doors, including stores in the Middle East and in the Caribbean and travel retailers, by next summer.

Newness, which has come to account for 30 percent of sales in the nearly $3 billion U.S. department store fragrance category, is a trend that’s also important in the automotive industry, Ellis contended. “H2,” he said, “is about doing something new.”