There is more than one kind of gentleman.
This story first appeared in the March 7, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Givenchy paid tribute to courteous, charming and worldly kinds of gentlemen in the launch of the neoclassic woody, masculine fragrance Gentleman Only last year with an ad campaign centered upon actor Simon Baker getting drenched as he shields a woman from the rain with his umbrella. Now rolling out in Europe and hitting U.S. counters in mid-September, Givenchy is bringing gentlemanly sensuality to the fore with stronger woody scent, Gentleman Only Intense, and new ads that portray Baker covering a woman with his jacket as the sun sets or rises.
“Gentleman Only has been a tremendous success and the idea was really to capitalize on this success. We feel we hold in our hands a terrific concept and a very promising franchise,” said Thierry Maman, global president of Parfums Givenchy, part of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton. He elaborated that Gentleman Only has become Givenchy’s best-selling men’s fragrance and that “the objective is to have the Gentleman Only franchise in the top 10 of men’s fragrances worldwide at the end of 2014.”
Industry sources estimate that the Gentleman Only franchise will generate 120 million to 160 million euros, or roughly $165 million to $220 million at current exchange rates, at retail globally during the first year that both fragrances will be in stores. Gentleman Only Intense is expected to enter 1,800 specialty and department-store doors in the U.S. It will be offered in two sizes: 50 ml. for $66 and a 100-ml. version for $88. Nicholas Munafo, U.S. president for LVMH fragrance brands, said, “The Intense is like the second chapter, which complements the original. It’s a more seductive, deeper fragrance, which is perfect for evening. We believe many men will desire both fragrances,” he said.
Gentleman Only Intense’s nighttime predisposition stands in contrast to Gentleman Only’s daytime proclivity. Françoise Donche, Givenchy’s fragrance expert, described Gentleman Only Intense as an “almost affectionate, seductive fragrance” and proclaimed its “virility is enhanced through spicy, fresh, peppery” notes. The fragrance includes top notes of green mandarin, black pepper and birch leaf; middle notes of patchouli, Texas cedar and leather, a key differentiator from Gentleman Only, and base notes of tonka bean, amber and incense.
Gentleman Only Intense’s bottle has a black lacquered cap, and it is housed in a dark gray box, while Gentleman Only has shades of blue and lighter gray in its packaging. “The bottle is not a crazy bottle with gold. It’s elegant, it’s chic, it’s aristocratic,” said Maman.
“The Mentalist” star Baker’s affiliation with Gentleman Only has been crucial to its success, and he is cast again in the role of gentleman, albeit of a different sort, to promote Gentleman Only Intense.
“When Givenchy first approached me, I was a little bit shocked and surprised, so I went into it thinking this whole fashion world is something that I’m not all that familiar with. I have some friends who are in the fashion world, but I have not really delved into it in a lot of ways,” he said. “I just really like the people that are involved and I like their approach toward things and, then, the history of the company is something that’s been interesting to me. They have that avant-garde sense of style, but they can pull that off because they have these aristocratic roots.”
Print ads featuring Baker for Gentleman Only Intense will be placed in the October, November and December issues of U.S. magazines. The ads don’t provide hints as to the state of the relationship between Baker and the woman to whom he offers a jacket.
Baker is too gentlemanly to dish dirt on the situation depicted. “I think it’s the wee hours of the morning, that’s my idea,” he said. “Hopefully, you can project whatever you want to project into it.”