CACHAREL SETS NOA COURSE
Byline: Alev Aktar
NEW YORK — Cacharel has quite a name in France, where its romantic fashion and fragrances have seduced many a young woman. In the U.S., however, the brand has few devotees.
With the introduction of the new Cacharel women’s scent, Noa, Cosmair’s European Designer Fragrance Division hopes to build the franchise here. The eau de toilette will hit stores in mid-March, and the company is targeting a top 10 women’s fragrance ranking.
“It’s time for Cacharel,” said Jack Wiswall, senior vice president and general manager at Cosmair. “We think that it has a wonderful heritage and we think the project has legs. We felt that Noa would give us the opportunity to reestablish the brand in the U.S.”
He declined to talk numbers, but sources say that Noa could generate $45 million retail in 2000.
The only Cacharel fragrance sold in the U.S. right now is Anais Anais, the 1978 white floral. It was a huge department store success when it was launched, noted Wiswall, although sales have since dwindled.
In Europe, the Cacharel stable also includes scents such as Eden, Eau d’Eden, Loulou, Loulou Blue, and a men’s signature scent. Of those, only Loulou was introduced in the U.S. in 1987. It was subsequently discontinued.
“They came at the wrong time for us,” said Wiswall. “We were repositioning the whole fragrance business. We were taking a very serious look at the Ralph Lauren, Giorgio Armani and Paloma Picasso franchises.
“This will be our first fragrance out without the halo effect of a big designer advertiser spend — like Ralph, Armani and even Paloma,” said Wiswall, referring to the fact that Cacharel fashion is not sold in the U.S.
Cosmair decided to introduce Noa in the U.S. after testing it in 10 markets across the country to positive response. “Noa speaks to today’s modern women,” explained Edward Fox, assistant vice president of marketing for European Fragrances. “She’s a heroine, and the ad speaks to harmony of the mind, body and spirit.”
The name Noa was chosen to represent a modern visionary who has the ability to change the course of events.
The fragrance, a floral musk blended by Firmenich’s Olivier Cresp, features white peony, white musk, coriander, incense and coffee notes. The packaging, bottle and logo were designed by Annegret Beier.
Cosmair is putting its might behind Noa, and will reportedly invest $8 million in 2000 on the advertising. The new scent will be backed with an aggressive print and TV campaign, along with 20 million scented strips and four million samples.
The TV campaign, produced by Nick Brandt and art directed by Tho Van Tran, stars model Rebekka Botzem. As reported, she is shown strolling through city streets while everyone around her is moving backward frantically. She pauses, holds up the bottle, then the action resumes. People move forward, smiling, the sun shines.
“People are moving backward and that’s symbolic of turmoil and chaos, and Noa brings calm,” noted Fox.
The print campaign, which shows the Noa heroine balancing the fragrance bottle on her index finger, was shot by Ruven Afanador.
Noa price points range between $32.50 for a 1-oz. eau de toilette spray and $49.50 for a 3.4-oz. version. There will also be two ancillary products: a 6.7-oz. body lotion for $27.50 and a 6.7-oz. body shampoo for $25.
According to Wiswall, there will be no gift-with-purchase or purchase-with-purchase promotions, but fall and holiday value sets will be introduced.
“Our strategy is to stay up with launch advertising dollars, not do gifts and keep bringing in the new.”
One new fragrance is Nemo, the men’s companion to Noa. That scent is currently rolling out in Europe. The U.S. launch date has not been finalized.