NEW YORK — For its follow-up to the high-powered macho image of Drakkar Noir, Cosmair Inc. is aiming at a more sensitive and slightly older man.
The company is giving Horizon for Men, set for an early fall launch, a more tranquil mystique with a $10 million to $12 million advertising and promotional campaign.
“It’s about man seeking balance in his life, seeking harmony,” said Laura Lee Miller, vice president of marketing for the European Designer Fragrance Division, which is launching the fragrance.
Robert Cassou, senior vice president and general manager, said he thinks the concept is strong enough to propel Horizon into the top 10 men’s fragrances. Cassou declined to discuss dollar projections, but industry sources said the company is aiming for first-year retail sales of at least $25 million.
Horizon is the second scent from designer Guy Laroche, whose 10-year-old Drakkar Noir still ranks in the top five of many retailers’ bestseller lists.
Cosmair, the U.S. arm of L’Oreal, will introduce Horizon in 500 to 600 doors in August or September, Cassou said, and will roll it out to about 1,200 doors six to eight weeks later. Launch accounts have not been finalized, Cassou said. Drakkar is in 2,000 doors.
Because of Drakkar’s strong U.S. franchise, Cassou said, the American and French executives worked together closely on Horizon’s development, teaming up to find the right name, concept and juice.
L’Oreal launched the product in Europe in April 1993. Following some initial technical problems — the blues of the glass bottle and the plastic cap were not a perfect match — and tough competition from XS by Paco Rabanne, Horizon managed to make it into France’s top 10. Having also been launched in several South American, Asian and Middle Eastern countries, the line had a worldwide wholesale volume of about $30 million (170 million francs) at current exchange rates.
The task of naming the scent and defining its concept was especially important for Horizon because, Cassou said, “There’s really not a lot of recognition for Guy Laroche design in the U.S. marketplace.”
The company skewed Horizon to the 18-to-34-year-old market rather than Drakkar’s 16 and older set, in order to minimalize cannibalization of Drakkar. More importantly, Cassou said, the company devised a concept that “is almost the antithesis of what Drakkar Noir is about.”
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While Drakkar’s advertising imagery is about power, possessions and pursuit, Cassou said, “The Horizon man really is more in touch with nature. He’s looking for a more tranquil life.”
The name Horizon was chosen because, Miller said, in addition to being easily pronounceable in English and French, it conveyed an image of harmony and simplicity. On the flip side, Miller said the word also has an active connotation of exploration.
In addition, Horizon has not forgotten that sex sells fragrance. Unlike Drakkar’s blunt approach to the subject, Horizon opts for a more sensitive image, complete with New Age music.
The TV commercial, directed by Herb Ritts and bathed in blue light, shows a man and a woman embracing in a pool. All the while, the soundtrack is playing Enya’s ethereal song, “Storms in Africa,” which Miller said “creates a purity and a sensuality.”
In one of the American launch’s print ads, which Ritts also photographed, the same models, deshabillÄs, are lying on a beach, the horizon in the background.
“We haven’t forgotten the modern-day explorer still likes sex,” Miller said.
Cassou noted that an aggressive TV campaign is essential because Horizon is a concept-driven, not a designer-driven, fragrance. In Europe, where Laroche is better-known, L’Oreal did not use TV for the launch, but is now running the Ritts spot.
Cosmair will run the co-op commercial in 30 to 40 major markets during the launch, Cassou said, and again during the holiday season.
The print campaign will include 30 million scented strips from September through December, Miller said.
Ads will run in men’s fashion magazines, such as Details, Esquire and GQ, and other men’s magazines, including Men’s Health, Men’s Journal, Outside and Playboy, as well as magazines such as Rolling Stone, Sports Illustrated, Spin and Entertainment Weekly.
The company also will run ads in Cosmopolitan, Glamour and Vogue. The September issue of Vogue will feature a Horizon gatefold, Miller said.
In addition, Cosmair will plaster 100 New York City buses and 100 telephone kiosks here with the print ad and use it in store displays.
In-store efforts will include handing out 1.5 million vial samples in addition to blotter cards.
The fragrance bar also will serve as the point of instruction for customers about the aromacologic, or mood-altering, benefits of Horizon. The company asserts that ingredients in Horizon can inspire relaxation, mental concentration and a feeling of well-being.
Miller described the juice, which was developed by International Flavors & Fragrances, as having a fresh, brisk top note that includes “icy” aldehyde, grapefruit, sap, peach, leaves and wild geranium; an aromatic, spicy middle note of artemisia, fennel, thyme, bay, pimento and black pepper, and a warm base note of vetiver, cypress, mosses, leather and musk.
“Men like a fragrance that has familiarity associated with it,” Miller said, referring to some of Horizon’s “comfort notes” and traditionally masculine elements, such as leather and musk.
Miller said that the company conducted market research both in the U.S. and in Europe to insure an internationally acceptable juice.
“We have the freshness that’s typically well accepted in the European market. Plus we have the spiciness and woodiness long accepted in the American market,” she said.
The line will consist of 10 stockkeeping units, with price points about 3 percent higher than Drakkar’s, Miller said. The four fragrance items, in chunky blue bottles designed to evoke the look of a glacier, are a 1.7-oz. eau de toilette spray for $32.50, a 3.4-oz. spray for $45, a 1.7-oz. pour for $27.50 and a 1.7-oz. after shave pour for $25.
The ancillaries, which Miller said should generate the typical 10 to 15 percent of the line’s sales, include hair and body shampoo, soap, deodorant stick, shave foam, body moisturizer and after shave balm.
Bottled in plastic, the items will retail for $12 to $17.50, except for the balm, which will be $32.50 for a 3.4-oz. bottle. The company also is developing a group of outdoor-oriented accessories called the Explorers Collection, Miller said.
In keeping with the environmental theme, Cosmair is working with American Rivers, a nonprofit group dedicated to protecting the nation’s rivers. With each purchase of certain gift sets, Cosmair will donate $1 to the organization.
Miller said other possible projects with American Rivers, such as an advertorial or a consumer outreach program, are under consideration.
Cassou said the Horizon launch period will be a promotional one, although details of in-store giveaways have not been completed. He added that Cosmair also will promote the scent when it is rolled out and again during the holiday season.
“We know we have to start off strong,” Cassou said. “If you don’t start off strong, you’re destined to be mediocre.”