LARACY MUSCLES INTO MEN’S
Byline: Laura Klepacki
DARIEN, Conn. — Parfums de Coeur’s Mark Laracy is at it again.
As founder and president of the Connecticut fragrance company, Laracy has built a $120 million business by successfully putting his own spin on underdeveloped fragrance concepts he found in the mass market.
This time, he has fixed his sights on young men.
Believing there is opportunity to develop a new fragrance category in the mass market, he has composed a four-scent collection of men’s body sprays called Bod. It is an area that up until now Bath & Body Works and others have only dabbled in.
With a grin, Laracy said, “I never hesitate to steal a good idea.”
He demonstrated his touch in 1997 by taking the hot body mist concept and spinning it into Body Fantasies. Laracy’s sleight of hand turned into an unexpected $30 million enterprise. First-year sales projections had been about $10 million.
Adding in other items under the Body Fantasies umbrella, today Laracy puts sales at about $60 million. The line has been credited with spawning the introduction of numerous other body mist brands and creating a sub-segment at mass.
Body Fantasies is now the largest piece of Laracy’s 18-year-old company, which also includes Designer Imposters, a collection of prestige fragrance knockoffs, such as Primo, and the Prince Matchabelli division, which features Wind Song, Aviance and Cachet. Body Fantasies spinoffs have included Juice Bar glitter sprays for girls. And for holiday this year, scented candles, fragrances in snow globes and body lotions in snowman bottles are being introduced.
Bod, to be treated as a partner to Body Fantasies, is expected to deliver sales of $10 million to $20 million, said Laracy. The line will be previewed in January with trial sizes offered for $1.95. The regular displays roll out in February. An 8.45-oz. bottle is $7.95.
According to Information Resources Inc., the men’s fragrance category is up 2.7 percent to $449.9 million for the 12 months ended Oct. 10.
While Bod is for men under 25, Laracy recognizes that most fragrance purchasing is still done by women, and has targeted the advertising and marketing messages accordingly.
In a series of 15-second TV spots set to run for three weeks beginning in March, the Bod campaign has a sexual theme. The ads, done in black and white, show muscular young men — all shirtless — onstage at a rock concert and playing basketball and beach football. Only Bod products will appear in color. The background is pulsing techno rock music with voiceovers, repeating, “Nice bod, hot body, great body. I want your Bod.”
The TV airtime will be purchased against relationship-geared programs such as “Baywatch,” “90210” and “Dawson’s Creek.”
“It is very Calvin Klein,” commented Laracy, who was responsible for the memorable Aviance Night campaign in the Seventies.
Parfums is spending $3 million on the TV campaign. In-store header cards will mirror the TV ads with a black and white graphic of a man’s torso. To drive home that the brand is for heterosexual men, a woman’s hands have been included in the photo, said Laracy. Bod is offered in Tekno, Musk, X and Abs fragrances, all described as “clean, sexy and refreshing” scents.
Four million Bod samples will be attached to Body Fantasies bottles. Like Body Fantasies signature celadon green displays, Bod will have a consistent gray-blue display. “I am a big believer in brand color identity,” said Laracy.
The Bod package, a plastic bottle with a pump-spray nozzle, was designed by Neil Davis Design. The name was selected because it reflects the increasing obsession young men have with body image, noted Laracy.
Laracy insists Bod delivers something new. “There is no ‘cool’ affordable fragrance for young men,” he said.
However, Parfums de Coeur is not first out with the concept.
In May, Coty introduced Jovan Body Tonics, a nine-item line, which includes a body spray. And Bath & Body Works has been offering a three-scent collection of men’s items that also has a body spray. However, the line has been given sparse space in stores.