Maria Sharapova claimed her second French Open title on Saturday, and luck is certainly on her side as she looks ahead to Wimbledon. For good measure, Sharapova has signed with Avon Products Inc. as the face of Avon Luck, a pair of fragrances for women and men.
This story first appeared in the June 11, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
“Luck is a big part of my life,” Sharapova told WWD on Monday in an exclusive interview while shooting the fragrances’ TV advertising campaign, which took place in the Northern England county side. She added that she collaborated with Avon on both the story and concept for Luck, which sports the tag line “Celebrate Life’s Good Fortunes.”
“Maria is an amazing athlete and business woman who has had lots of success in life,” said Danielle Bibas, vice president of global fine fragrances at Avon. “She has this sophisticated natural beauty. She’s someone who really exudes happiness.”
But the tennis star’s biggest asset may be her grit and competitive streak. No sooner had she grabbed ahold of the French Open trophy, then her sights were already on the next championship. Asked how long she’ll give herself to revel in another Grand Slam victory, Sharapova said, “It’s such a quick turnaround from the French Open to Wimbledon, so you can only enjoy it for a couple of days.”
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The tennis pro/businesswoman is no newcomer to beauty. She is the co-owner of sun-protection brand Supergoop, and nearly a decade ago the 27-year-old introduced a signature scent with Parlux Fragrance, which has since been discontinued. Outside of beauty, she’s created a candy line called Sugarpova, and her vast sponsorship deals include Nike, Tag Heuer and Evian, among others.
As for how she balances a tennis career and a growing business enterprise, Sharapova said, “I am a very passionate person — passionate and competitive. I always try new things and I’m never afraid of failing. I find drive in many things and I enjoy the creative process.”
She said she’s taken a greater interest in beauty in recent years. “I’ve always thought of beauty as such a sensational part of being a woman.” Sharapova said that fragrance in particularly intrigues her.
“It’s that moment that you have with yourself. It’s the last touch, and the last step,” she said, adding she generally selects fragrances that she can wear both day and night.
The two scents are an outgrowth of Avon’s overhauled fragrance strategy under chief executive officer Sheri McCoy.
“We are focused on driving our value equation,” said Patricia Perez-Ayala, senior vice president, chief marketing officer and global brand category president. “We are bringing in some breakthrough ideas in fragrances that deliver on good, better, best pricing.” She added that Luck is in a premium tier and is aimed at capturing new consumers.
Bibas said rebalancing the fragrance portfolio has been a top priority at Avon. She noted that in recent years, Avon has introduced a large number of new brands. The plan now is to support those existing brands with flankers, while introducing new innovations and exiting underperforming projects. “We definitely want to streamline the portfolio.…We want to build brands that will last a long time,” she said, while noting the goal is to focus on growing $100 million brands. In her view, the company’s retooled strategy is already working. The Avon Femme fragrance — which first launched in Europe in March and in North America in May — is the company’s most successful scent since the introduction of Outspoken by Fergie in 2010.
For Avon Luck for Her, described as a fruity, oriental floral, Avon worked with Givaudan perfumer Adriana Medina. Notes are comprised of sparkling bergamot Italia orpur, queen of the night scent trek and velvet sandalwood. The men’s scent is described as a woody, aromatic, ambery scent. For the juice, Avon partnered with Symrise’s Dave Apel. Notes include pink pepper, nutmeg and sandalwood essence.
Avon Luck for Her, $30, and Luck for Him, $28, will launch in Europe in September followed by North America in October and Asia-Pacific in November. Television and print ads, shot by Pamela Hanson, will run in select markets, such as South Africa, Poland, Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania.
An aggressive sampling effort will also accompany the launch. “Trial is the best way to introduce a brand,” said Meg Lerner, vice president of North America Beauty and Fashion & Home, noting Avon will leverage scented pages in its brochures and include samples with Avon orders. It’s also exploring the concept of a scented cover, said Lerner.
“Fragrance is incredibly important to us,” said Perez-Ayala. “It’s our fastest-growing category.”