Move over Nacho.
Twenty-seven-year-old actor Luke Bracey will be replacing Nacho Figueras as the face of Ralph Lauren Fragrances’ Polo Red. Figueras still fronts Polo Blue, but four-year-old Polo Red, and now Extreme — the latest iteration after Polo Red Intense — is expected to be instrumental in the brand’s efforts to differentiate the two franchises.
The changing of the guard comes as the Red franchise kicks off a relaunch and the addition of third scent, Polo Red Extreme, with model Kenneth Guidroz as the face. Extreme is a more concentrated eau de parfum than the eau de toilette original, and is housed in a sleek, matte black bottle. Olivier Gillotin, executive perfumer of Givaudan, used a high level of natural coffee in the oriental gourmand, as well as a blood orange and black ebony wood accords. The fragrance ranges in price from $55 for a 40 ml. bottle to $95 for a 125 ml. bottle and hits counters globally in March.
Polo Blue is targeted to a consumer closer in age to Figueras’ almost 40 years, while the new Polo Red pillar is designed to speak to a younger, male customer, explained Guillaume de Lesquen, president of Ralph Lauren Fragrances Worldwide, during a preview of the scent last month. He compared Red and Blue to a “James Dean leather jacket” and “The Great Gatsby” in his blazer.
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While the relaunch includes entirely new brand messaging, assets, an increased digital presence and expanded in-store experiences, he was clear that the juice will remain the same.
This time around, instead of Figueras, Ralph Lauren Fragrances is relying on “Point Break” star Bracey, Guidroz and a handful of extreme sports influencers with large social media followers to recruit Millennials.
De Lesquen said “capitalizing on the viral nature of extreme sports content” with influencers such as Sam Reynolds, a British mountain biker; Chris Sharma, an American rock climber, and Jokke Sommer, a Norwegian wing suiter, was integral to the launch of Extreme.
Each influencer will create branded photos and videos that will live on their own social media channels, as well as those owned by Ralph Lauren Fragrances. Sharma has 281,000 followers on Instagram and Sommer has 51,000 followers on Instagram and nearly 53,000 subscribers on his YouTube channel.
Polo Red was the best-selling franchise in the brand’s fragrance portfolio from 2013 through 2015, but Polo Blue inched ahead last year, fueled by the launch of Blue’s eau de parfum. He expects Extreme to help Polo Red to reclaim its position as the top pillar, due to the brand putting a lot of muscle behind the combined refresh and introduction of Extreme.
The marketing budget this time around is 25 percent higher than when Polo Red launched in 2013, with dollars allotted to digital nearly tripling from 15 to 40 percent of overall spend, de Lesquen said. Digital takes into account everything from the creation of films and GIFS, to social media to influencer partnerships and virtual reality in-store experiences with Oculus headsets in 300 to 500 doors.
“We’re obviously shifting some of TV and print [marketing spend]. But what you have to understand is that mobile is the new TV, so instead of having your film on your TV, you’re watching the film on your computer or mobile,” de Lesquen said. “It’s less classic media and a bit more modern media, but it’s still a film or an image. Instead of an image in a magazine, you have an image of Instagram or Facebook.”
Globally, Extreme will have about 20,000 points of distribution, mirroring that of the original Polo Red. In 2013, Polo Red did around $90 million in retail sales, which according to an industry source, could this year climb to about $120 million for the two Red fragrances combined.
De Lesquen uses words like “speed,” “adrenaline” and “seduction” when he talked about Extreme, adding that the scent is “all about the risk taker, the thrill seeker.” Conversely, Polo Blue connotes images of a gentlemen, and “a sailing, sporty, team spirit lifestyle.”
But to break it down even further, Polo Red is targeted to males 25 to 35, with Extreme skewing even younger. The goal is to reach the 18 to 25-year-old set with a more “extreme” scent and corresponding brand messaging focused on extreme sports.
The change in the face of the franchise was a key part of Red’s relaunch, according to de Lesquen, who noted that even though Bracey is the face of Polo Red and Guidroz the face of Extreme, the two appear together in branded material, including a short film directed by Bruce Weber.
“Key fragrance blockbusters need to be rejuvenated every two to three years due to the intensity of the competition and the fact that the digital world is changing. The way the market is driven today, it’s about immediacy and novelty,” de Lesquen said, adding that since Polo Red was ranked the 10th best-selling fragrance worldwide for men in 2015, the brand’s “been under a lot of attacks from competitors with new launches. We felt the necessity to reenergize this scent in many ways.”