Polo is turning up the heat on its fragrance franchise this summer with an aggressive new ad campaign featuring Argentine polo sensation Nacho Figueras.
This story first appeared in the May 8, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The professional polo player, who has been the face of the Polo Black Fragrance and model for Ralph Lauren Black Label since 2005, inked an extension with L’Oréal’s Ralph Lauren Fragrances last year to appear in campaigns like the new one, dubbed the World of Polo.
Celebrating three of the brand’s most classic scents — Polo Modern Reserve, Polo Blue and Polo Black — the new advertising initiative will span print, television and online mediums, and marks one of the largest advertising pushes for Ralph Lauren Fragrances in the men’s segment.
“This is the first time ever that all three fragrances will be advertised at the same time,” said Guillaume de Lesquen, president, worldwide of the Ralph Lauren Fragrances Division of L’Oréal. “It’s a very big brand statement and an all-out expression of Polo so the expectations are high.”
Added Leslie Marino, general manager of the L’Oréal Designer Fragrance division: “We’ve doubled our investment for the print campaign for the same time period last year. The Polo fragrance franchise represents one of the largest segments of our business and we expect to see immediate pick-up in sales and also build-up of momentum going into holiday.”
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While L’Oréal does not break out sales projections or advertising budgets, industry sources estimate the Polo franchise to be worth about $300 million globally. Sources estimate about a $20 million advertising spend on the 2009 campaign.
Shot and directed by Bruce Weber, the print and broadcast images are meant to express three facets of the Polo man and fragrance portfolio: the traditionalist with Polo Modern Reserve, the refined sportsmen with Polo Blue and the sophisticated urbane gentleman with Polo Black. Print imagery features a classic mallet-wielding Figueras on the polo field in crisp white jeans and a classic team jersey for Polo Modern Reserve, while the campaign for Polo Blue is meant to evoke a casual elegance, showcasing the tanned Argentinean at the helm of a boat. The new imagery is meant to compliment the existing Polo Black ad, which features a more formal Figueras donning a suit and crisp white shirt.
“It’s very aspirational,” said de Lesquen. “Whether it’s city, country or the polo field, Nacho represents all facets of this unique lifestyle.”
The World of Polo campaign will make its debut in the June issue of Vanity Fair as an eight-page scent strip in a special heir and heiress section of the magazine, which was also shot by Weber. Ads will also appear in the June and July issues of about 18 other U.S. books including Details, GQ and Condé Nast Traveller, with 15- and 30-second TV spots scheduled to begin running on Father’s Day. The broadcast campaign is then slated to rollout internationally to Latin America, Malaysia, Australia and the U.K. The advertising initiative also includes an eight-page scented booklet for usage on counter and in-store, as well a social network campaign that will debut on Facebook.
“We have three really strong men’s fragrances that have been in the market long enough to call classics,” said Marino. “Which is why we think it’s time to put some momentum behind them.”