NEW YORK — Liz Claiborne Inc. is facing a number of new Realities.
The firm’s latest fragrance owes its name to a previous Claiborne scent that was launched in 1990, then discontinued domestically in 1998. For spring, Claiborne launched a better apparel line under the Realities name and the company’s beauty division is gearing up to launch a cosmetics firm called Realities Cosmetics Co., whose first project will be the Realities women’s scent. And there’s more. As reported, Claiborne also plans to add more categories this fall with the Realities nameplate, including handbags and jewelry and possibly men’s wear. As well, a men’s Realities scent is currently slated for a 2005 launch.
The women’s scent shares only a name with the original fragrance, said Art Spiro, president of Liz Claiborne Cosmetics, noting that the first juice relied heavily on bergamot, sage, jasmine, sandalwood and vanilla. “This is a completely new project,” he emphasized, calling it a “lush floral.”
This launch marks the first time in recent history that the company has chosen to launch a scent individually, rather than as part of a masterbrand concept. “Launching this way allows us to focus all of our energies on making this scent the biggest success we possibly can,” said Spiro. “When you’re doing two scents at once, your attentions can get a little divided — and while our men’s business had been outperforming the market, we hadn’t been making the inroads into the women’s business that we know this company is capable of.”
The company chose to revive an older name chiefly because of its resonance with consumers, said David Hirschler, vice president of marketing, adding that the name tested particularly well with the scent’s primary (25- to 49-year-olds) and secondary (18- to 24-year-olds) age targets.
“We had a lot of equity in this name for a number of reasons,” Hirschler said. “Life these days is particularly hectic, particularly if you’re in your 20s, 30s and 40s. There are so many demands on your time, and everyone is attempting to find balance. The name acknowledges that.”
That positioning is also strongly backed up in the brand’s print advertising, photographed by Bill Miles. The campaign, still in development, is very lifestyle-oriented, said Hirschler. A cause-related marketing campaign is also likely to surface at some point this year, he said.
The juice, by Jean-Marc Chaillan, Pascal Gaurin and Laurent Le Guernec of International Flavors and Fragrances —?the oil house that did the first Realities — has top notes of white ginger, bergamot, magic lantern orchid and mirror orchid; middle notes of white syringa, pink lace peony, orange flower, cyclamen, living hydroponic gardenia and Persian violet, and a dry-down of sandalwood, white woods, vanilla, cashmerean, moss and musk. The blush-pink-tinted juice is contained within a clear, heavy-glass bottle. Two sizes of eau de parfum sprays will be offered: a 1.7-oz. size for $42.50 and a 3.4-oz. size for $52. A 0.5-oz. parfum spray will be available for $75.
Rather than releasing a full complement of ancillaries, the team kept the scent’s extensions very focused. “We only wanted ancillaries with benefits,” said Hirschler, noting that the lineup includes a lotion with Pro-Vitamin B5 and vitamin E, $35 for 6.7 oz.; a hand cream with shea butter, $20 for 4.2 oz., and a shower gel, $25 for 6.7 oz.
The new Realities will be rolled out in Claiborne’s 2,200 U.S. department and specialty store doors in late August, noted Sue Hochman, vice president of sales. National print advertising breaks in a variety of September fashion, beauty and lifestyle magazines, including O and Real Simple.
Sampling will also be a strong focus, as will “in-store theater,” said Hirschler. In-store, the scent will be sampled on both standard blotters and on silk-feel pieces that resemble orchid leaves; dramming units will dispense the body lotion. Altogether, more than 50 million scented impressions are expected.
While none of the executives would comment on projected sales or advertising spending, industry sources estimate that Realities would do upwards of $18 million at retail in its first year on counter and that about $16 million would be spent on advertising and promotion.
— Julie Naughton