CALVIN’S NEW CONTRADICTION
Byline: Pete Born
NEW YORK — In coming up with his latest fragrance, Contradiction for men, Calvin Klein has sought a new definition for the contemporary male — he’s a virile young father.
A mature twenty-something who’s also caring, sensitive and vulnerable, the Contradiction man is “a young Marlon Brando” who loves playing the Dad, according to the designer.
The complex positioning of the scent that will bow in September stems from the personality of the fragrance.
Developed by International Flavors & Fragrances, with Ann Gottlieb acting as consultant, the formula presents an unusual dichotomy. “It’s fresh, it’s clean and it’s sexy,” Klein said, noting that the contrasts in the scent derive from the use of vetiver, an ingredient that he loves.
“At first whiff, it’s very fresh and clean, then dries down to very warm and sexy,” said Paulanne Mancuso, president and chief executive officer of Calvin Klein Cosmetics, Klein’s fragrance licensee, which is owned by Unilever.
“It’s much sexier than most fragrances that are this fresh,” added Sheila Cutner, senior vice president of marketing and advertising.
Top notes include key lime, grove clementine, frosted leaves, aromatic sage and lavender. The mid range is composed of bitter cardamom, coriander with shaved nutmeg and milled peppercorn. The drydown is a blend of ebony, bubinga wood and a cashmeran accord with vetiver, patchouli and sandalwood.
That heady mix will usher Klein back into the men’s fragrance market in September with the introduction of his first men’s scent since Escape for men five years ago. Since then, he has done two unisex scents — CK One and CK Be — that were aimed at a younger crowd. That duo was followed by the women’s Contradiction last year, which broke the ice for the men’s version and provided a foundation for a master brand.
With this launch, there is still plenty at stake. Although Klein executives do not break out sales projections, industry sources expect the new men’s scent to generate a $30 million volume at wholesale through yearend. That target also includes the Canadian launch, entailing about 300 more doors.
According to NPD BeautyTrends, the women’s Contradiction did $10 million at retail in the first four months of this year and ranked seventh among women’s prestige fragrances in a field that includes more widely distributed fragrances. Sources predict the fragrance will rack up more than $30 million at wholesale this year.
As for the imagery, the model for the Contradiction man is Justin Chambers, a 26-year-old model who will appear in the print ads and TV spot. Despite his relative youth, he has a wife and three children.
“He’s not what you would expect,” Klein observed.
In some of the ads, Chambers wears a suit — a rarity for a Klein ad — so he looks powerful and hip. Klein sees this man as full of self-confidence and very cool. “This is a real guy,” Klein continued. “He’s not some 19-year-old pretty boy that men look at and say, ‘it’s not me.’
“He looks healthy and happy, he’s smiling — all this good, solid stuff,” Klein continued, noting that the idea was to create an image that would be aspirational for both the young and old alike. “This is a world that a lot of kids aspire to,” said Klein, adding that “you’ll see lots of parents relating to that man.”
Like the other three Klein men’s collection fragrances — Obsession, Eternity and Escape — Contradiction will be aimed a core consumer target of age 25 to 49.
In the TV spot, being produced by Jean Baptiste Mondino, Chambers talks about life. “He talks about values,” Klein said. “He is not a confused kid.”
The photography for the print ads, which includes a shot of Chambers holding one of his children, was done by Nick Knight.
Klein said his biggest challenge was to find a model who represented the male equivalent of Christy Turlington, whose multifaceted but youthful maturity drove the Contradiction campaign.
The print advertising, slated to appear in 16 magazines, will bear 50 million scented strips. The campaign will break in September issues, and the launch will also be supported with TV spots that will be rebroadcast at Christmas.
According to sources, the total advertising budget is projected at $11 million for the second half, with $3.2 million earmarked for TV in 50 to 60 markets in North America. The possibility of outdoor advertising is also being discussed.
In addition, the company will spend another $4 million on marketing promotions, including one million vial samples, modeling and in-store displays.
Price points range from $32 for a 1.7-oz. eau de toilette spray to $45 for the 3.4-oz. size. There also is a 3.4-oz. aftershave for $33 and a 6.6-oz. After Shave Relief Balm for the same price, plus an $18.50 hair and body wash.
Distribution in the U.S. will total roughly 1,500 to 1,800 doors, which is the approximate door count for women’s Contradiction.
That scent was originally launched in a tight distribution of only 400 doors in an effort to re-orient the franchise to the more exclusive thinking of the collection fragrances, following the CK populist approach.
Mancuso noted that 1,500 to 1,800 doors is still limited, compared with some rollouts. It was important for Contradiction to set the tone for the new master brand, particularly in the center of the country, she pointed out. On the other hand, men do not appreciate exclusivity the way women do. For men, lack of availability is irritating.
Contradiction for men will be rolled out overseas next spring.