NEW YORK — With the fall launch of its new Brut Actif Blue fragrance, Chesebrough-Pond’s is going after a younger customer than the man who typically buys its 30-year-old mainstay Brut and is using some traditionally prestige-market tactics in the process.
While the original Brut fragrance appeals mainly to the over-45 set, Actif Blue will zero in on men age 18 to 35, according to Bill Ecker, vice president of marketing at the Unilever division.
Ecker said he hopes the new scent, which is set for a late September launch, eventually will match Brut’s worldwide wholesale volume of $60 million. Thanks to the “Men Are Back” advertising campaign, sales of Brut jumped 10 percent last year, he said.
Chesebrough is backing both scents with a $30 million ad campaign this year and a $35 million ad budget in 1995, Ecker said, noting that the “vast majority” will be spent on Actif Blue. The campaign will include roughly 60 million scented strips, both inserted in magazines and handed out in stores, he said.
The marketing approach for Actif Blue — which, like Brut, will carry the Faberge label — will encompass one of the favorite methods of department store vendors: fragrance models.
Ecker said the company will place associates armed with tester bottles in “thousands of stores.” Distribution plans are still being discussed.
In addition, Chesebrough will supply stores with self-service testers and with trial-size bottles that will retail for 99 cents apiece.
“It will be very difficult for somebody in the fourth quarter of this year not to be aware of and not to have tried Brut Actif Blue,” Ecker said.
The company is using thrill-seeking sports, such as rock climbing, hang gliding and mountain biking, as an advertising backdrop for Actif Blue. Ecker said he hopes to tap into consumers’ growing interest in these sports, both as participants and as spectators.
“Every piece of advertising is all about aspiration,” Ecker said. “Even if they wouldn’t do it in real life, it’s what they fancy themselves doing. Actif Blue is not only for the one-tenth of 1 percent of consumers that are certifiably nuts.”
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Keeping in mind that men are not as experimental with their fragrances as they may be in other aspects of their lives, fragrance consultant Ann Gottlieb said she developed a juice that has “the aura of this new excitement, yet [is] soft and nuzzly.”
With notes of apple and pear skins, spearmint, French grass and musk, the scent falls into the fruit-fresh category. Gottlieb said the only other fragrance of that genre is Escape for Men from Calvin Klein, another Unilever division.
The Actif Blue range consists of a 5-oz. spray cologne that will retail for $7; an after shave, after shave gel and splash cologne, each in a 3.5-oz. bottle for $6, and a regular and a cooling deodorant and antiperspirant, each in a 2.25-oz. stick for $2.20.
The price points, at the upper end of the mass market, are slightly higher than Brut’s.
Chesebrough is launching the fragrance simultaneously in 10 countries in North America and Europe in September. Eventually Actif Blue will be rolled out to the company’s other markets, including South America and Australia, Ecker said. But a date has not been set.