And then there were three — Ralph Lauren Romance is getting another sister.
This story first appeared in the February 17, 2016 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Tender Romance, launching in the U.S. in April, joins the original Romance scent, which launched in 1998 and is an established pillar of the Ralph Lauren Fragrances repertoire, and Midnight Romance, an addition which launched in 2014.
The new scent is an attempt to draw in a younger — read: Millennial — audience to the Romance franchise.
“We are seeing today in the fragrance category some key evolutions — new kinds of trends in terms of juice, [in] talking to consumers, and a lot about digital,” said Guillaume de Lesquen, worldwide president of Ralph Lauren Fragrances. “Our idea is to strengthen Romance and make it more appealing to Millennials.”
Considering that The NPD Group reported that Millennials aged 18-24 were the heavy users driving the fragrance category in 2015, it’s not a bad strategy to have.
The scent, formulated by Honorine Blanc of Firmenich, is a floriental blend, comprised of top notes of ginger, pear accord and bergamot, a heart of white magnolia, jasmine and ginger lily, and a drydown of a cashmere woods accord, benzoin and musk.
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Ginger, according to de Lesquen is “quite unusual in women’s fragrances but it brings sweetness and softness to the juice.”
“It goes very well with the idea of tender,” said de Lesquen, adding that the cashmere woods accord, which is derived from woodsy notes, “adds smoothness and warmth.”
Focus groups conducted before the new fragrance strategy was determined, found that sweet — but not cloying — juice is what Millennials are looking for, de Lesquen said.
Where Romance is a classic floral and Midnight Romance is a sensual floriental Tender Romance, a stronger floral-oriental blend, was formulated to remain distinct from its sister fragrances. A new addition means marketing opportunities for the entire franchise.
“[Midnight Romance] is not one of those sisters that came and went for us, it’s still a pretty solid business. “We’re presenting these three stories of Romance together, like in a collection, and glorifying each of their main ingredients, said Alexandre Choueiri, president of International Designer Collections for L’Oréal USA.
Tender Romance will be available in three sizes — 30 ml. for $54, 50 ml. for $76 and 100 ml. for $96. A 10 ml. rollerball will retail for $24.
It will launch in somewhere between 3,000 and 4,000 department and specialty stores, as well as fashion stores and on e-commerce, including ralphlauren.com and the brand’s digital stockists.
Customization options such as bottle-engraving and monogramming will be available both as part of in-store personalization events. “The more you personalize, the more people feel into it,” de Lesquen said.
Digital efforts will be the crux of the Tender Romance promotional plan, which will appear first on social media. “This is our most digital Ralph Lauren launch ever,” Choueiri said.
Teaser videos of the TV commercial shot by Bruce Weber and set to the music of Ben Taylor — James Taylor’s son — singing a rendition of “Love Me Tender” as an attractive young couple sways in a tree swing, will be pushed out on social media in March, before the TV launch for Mother’s Day in April and May. The videos are quite short — only seven to 10 seconds long — but that’s exactly the point, according to de Lesquen. “With a strong, fixed message, these types of videos can be extremely successful [on social media].”
There will also be a traditional print campaign with scented strips.
Industry sources estimate Tender Romance will bring in $30 million worldwide in its first year at retail ($15 million at retail in the U.S.), and that the entire Romance franchise will increase Ralph Lauren Fragrance sales by 30 percent.
It’s not just young Millennials that Tender Romance is targeting. “What we call the Millennial phenomenon is threading throughout the generations, ” Choueiri said. “Much older people than Millennials are liking the same thing — customization, digital [and] shopping on mobile as well. It’s not longer just the Millennials, [but] the Millennials have kind of taken the lead.”