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Prada Taps Virtual Face for Candy Fragrance Relaunch

Prada and its beauty license L'Oréal are relaunching the Prada Candy fragrance with a new advertising campaign fronted by a virtual muse.

MILAN — Eschewing the traditional route of a celebrity or influencer, Prada has tapped a virtual face to front its latest beauty campaign, which marks the relaunch of the brand’s Candy fragrance pillar.

Introduced in 2011 in a bid to attract younger customers, the Candy eau de parfum is looking to strengthen this mission with a communication that can better resonate with today’s new generations under the fashion house’s new beauty license, L’Oréal.

Prada Candy is the brand’s first gateway for the Gen Z and young Millennials. It has always been the young and audacious facet of the brand, but today’s youth is different from yesterday’s, so there was a need to update its platform and message,” said Yann Andrea, international general manager of Prada Beauty at L’Oréal.

“We focused on our brand values that connect the most with the Gen Z target and current trends: the desire for playfulness, the spirit of anti-conformism and the contrasting simultaneous need to control yet let go,” he continued. “Furthermore, in today’s world, where the frontiers between the real and the virtual are ever blurrier, in particular for the Gen Z audience who highly engage with iconoclast and virtual influencers and muses, with the new campaign we wanted the physical fragrance to encounter the virtual world.”

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Teased on Prada’s social media on Wednesday with an invitation to rethink reality, the campaign includes images and a series of short films portraying the Candy virtual muse interacting with the IRL fragrance bottle.

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For the print campaign, the brand tasked French photographer Valentin Herfray to play with perceptions of reality by combining photography and technology, and for the video series it tapped Danish award-winning film director, screenwriter and producer Nicolas Winding Refn, who is known for having directed the Pusher trilogy, the action-drama “Drive” and the psychological horror film “The Neon Demon.” 

Starting Thursday, the campaign will appear on different media, with a key focus on those intercepting Gen Z, including Twitch, Snapchat and TikTok.

The Candy virtual muse fronting the Prada Candy new campaign.
The Candy virtual muse fronting the Prada Candy new campaign. Courtesy of Prada

Without disclosing financial details, Andrea emphasized Candy’s success within its sector and that with the communication strategy the company is looking to reach new heights of growth a decade after the product’s debut.

“When first launched in 2011, Prada Candy achieved top fragrance ranking status worldwide and has remained quite solid ever since, especially in the U.S., even without extensive support and proactive activation over the most recent years. This was a proof of the fragrance’s genuine relevance in general and its potential to appeal to Gen Z,” said Andrea, underscoring that “the scent itself is both timeless and very relevant for today and is a true Prada signature.”

“It has been one of our very first priorities to reactivate Candy when we started managing the Prada Beauty license, and it has paid off so far,” he continued. According to the executive, since the beginning of this year “Candy has grown 40 percent, beating the feminine market at the end of August.” The campaign is aimed at amplifying this increase throughout the rest of the year and first semester of 2022, when additional activations will be potentially unveiled for Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day.

Despite the new virtual ambassador, the fragrance has not been retooled in its juice nor packaging. Originally blended by master perfumer Daniela Andrier under the creative direction of Miuccia Prada, the amber gourmand scent combines a caramel accord with benzoin resin and white musks.

The iconic glass bottle, designed by Fabien Baron, mixes colors and finishes, combining the brand’s signature Saffiano leather rendered in shocking pink, with sleek golden elements, including the futuristic, half-moon-shaped cap.

Prada Candy Eau de Parfum.
The Prada Candy eau de parfum. Courtesy of L'Oréal

The fragrance is available in three sizes, retailing at 70 euros, 90 euros and 115 euros for the 30-ml., 50-ml. and 80-ml. formats, respectively.

The scent is already widely distributed in the selective fragrance market, especially in the U.S., Asia and travel retail, but Andrea said the plan is to further enhance its visibility and expand its presence across different countries, starting in Europe. In particular, the executive sees a lot of growth potentials in markets such as the U.K and Germany, among others.

In addition to this edp, the Prada Candy collection also comprises the three flankers Prada Candy Night eau de parfum, Prada Candy Florale eau de toilette and Prada Candy Kiss eau de parfum.

Overall, the fashion house’s fragrances are currently distributed in 20,000 doors globally within the selective fragrance market.

Announced in mid-December 2019, Prada’s beauty license with L’Oréal went into effect on Jan. 1. The brand was previously under license to Puig.

“When taking over the license, we inherited from a very rich and balanced portfolio enabling us to address all the fragrance categories — feminine and masculine, selective and niche — and our strategy has been to capitalize and reactivate Prada’s fragrance business with both novelty and the existing catalogue,” explained Andrea.

Earlier this year, the first new effort under L’Oréal was introduced with the release of the Prada Luna Rossa Ocean men’s fragrance, for which actor Jake Gyllenhaal was tapped as face.