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Komen Foundation to Launch ‘Promise Me’ Fragrance

The nonprofit dedicated to fighting breast cancer has taken its crusade into new territory — cause related marketing.

The Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation, which has raised and invested $1.5 billion in fighting breast cancer since 1982, has taken its crusade into new territory — the fragrance bar.

As a pioneer in cause related marketing, the Komen foundation has orchestrated its first product, a women’s fragrance, as a fund-raising vehicle. Appropriately, the scent is called Promise Me, which also is the title of the book written by Nancy Brinker, founder of the organization and sister to the late Susan Komen. The title alludes to Brinker’s promise to her dying sister to launch a mission to end the pain and suffering of breast cancer.

In an interview, Brinker said the fragrance will give supporters a new way to participate in the cause and “contributes very importantly to our reach globally.” It is an act of advocacy that offers “a natural fit,” she added.

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“My sister was always passionate about fragrance,” Brinker said. “She had a great fashion sense.”

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Not to be overlooked is the fund-raising potential, she noted. The organization figures that the fragrance will raise a minimum of $1 million a year. The fragrance development was spearheaded by Brian Robinson, the founder of Zihr and now the head of TPR Holdings LLC.

Through interlocking donations from Robinson and all of the project’s vendors, 13.5 percent of net sales will be donated to the Komen foundation. Robinson said the project is aiming for a target of roughly $30 million in sales, meaning that the fragrance could generate $3 million to $4 million in contributions. In order to reach this goal, a fairly impressive marketing and merchandising plan has been devised. The fragrance is due to be launched in April and it will remain on the market through October, the month for raising breast cancer awareness. Promise Me will consist of two versions — an eau de parfum and an eau de toilette — that will be distributed through department stores and drugstores chains and on TV, simultaneously.

The 3.4 oz. eau de parfum will retail for $59. Robinson said the price point was kept at that level because the objective is to reach out to nontraditional fragrance shoppers, not women who would be comfortable with a $95 price tag. For the mass market, the eau de toilette will come in two sizes, a 1.0 oz. for $19.99 and a 3.4 oz. for $29.99. A scented plastic bracelet will be handed out as a gift with purchase. For direct selling on the TV home shopping networks, a kit will be offered containing the 3.4 oz, eau de parfum, the bracelet and a body product.

A limited quantity of Brinker’s book, “Promise Me,” will be offered as a gift with purchase in department stores, Robinson said, and carded vials will be handed out. The Komen foundation will also promote the fragrance on its social media sites — Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, YouTube and Flickr. Robinson also said he expects that the foundation’s 125 chapters will get involved in promoting the scent.

Robinson also indicated that contributions will be made to Komen’s designated overseas affiliates.

The fragrance’s formula is a floral oriental, created by Jean-Claude Deville of Drom. Key notes include mandarin, bergamot, blood orange, fresh aldehyde, black current, pink peony, wild orchid, rosewood, white patchouli and musk.

The packaging was created by Chad Lavigne. Robinson said that he expects this fragrance to sell out this year. Then next year another scent with new juice and different packaging can be launched. “We don’t know if it will have the same name,” he noted, adding that, “I wanted to do something to give back to a very worthy cause and to help a fantastic organization raise a significant amount of money.”