Byline: Soren Larson

NEW YORK — Coty Inc., one of the bright spots in the mass market fragrance business, is shooting for the moon with its next launch.
In April, the company will introduce a women’s scent called Nokomis — the name of the daughter of the moon in American Indian mythology. In accordance, Coty will be using images of the moon extensively in the fragrance’s advertising and promotional campaigns, according to Mary Manning, the company’s senior vice president of market development.
“The average consumer probably won’t be familiar with the name Nokomis,” said Manning. But, she added, that shouldn’t matter: “What’s important is that they understand the imagery. The concept is about a woman’s mystical side. It reflects a more private side, something more spiritual.”
Coty will spend $10 million on print and television advertising next year to boost the new brand. To underscore the spiritual imagery, the tagline will read, “The fragrance that speaks to a woman’s soul.”
As a result of the well-budgeted support strategy, sources say the company is expecting Nokomis, which will be sold in more than 20,000 mass doors, to reap a wholesale volume of at least $20 million in 1997 — and if those sales targets are met, Coty will be keeping a string of hits alive.
In a survey of drugstores this year by Goldman Sachs, the top five men’s fragrances in the first half included Coty’s Stetson, Preferred Stock and Gravity, while the women’s leaders included the company’s Vanilla Fields and Vanilla Musk.
Coty added to its list this fall with two major launches. A men’s scent called Raw Vanilla hit stores in August, followed by the September introduction of Celebrate, a women’s fragrance. In addition, an extension of the Exclamation brand, called Exclamation Blush, was shipped this summer.
Industry sources estimate Raw Vanilla could hit a first-year retail volume of $13 million, with Coty putting $3 million this year into the scent’s print campaign.
Celebrate could have a first-year retail volume of $25 million, according to industry estimates. Coty is investing $6 million in print and television advertising for the brand this year.
Nokomis could attract a more mature customer than Celebrate, which is primarily drawing women between the ages of 18 and 24, Manning said. “[Nokomis] could be a little older than the traditional range,” she added. “It’s for women from 24 to 35, but it could stretch up to 50.”
The price points will be in the neighborhood of what Coty president Jerry Abernathy called “the upper end of mass.” The line will be launched with three sizes: a 0.5-oz. cologne pour for $12.50, a same-size spray for $15 and a 1-oz. spray for $20.
In September, Coty will add a 1.7-oz. cologne spray for $25 and a 4-oz. body cream for $10.
The round, luminous packaging is intended to convey the lunar connection. The fragrance itself, created by Dragoco, is a sheer oriental, which Manning described as a modern updating of the traditional oriental category.
“People are coming back to orientals, but they’re more transparent and not as heavy,” she said, citing Chanel’s Allure and Christian Dior’s Dolce Vita as examples of sheer orientals now being sold in the prestige end of the business.
The top notes include moonflower, iris, heliotrope, peach, plum and raspberry. The middle notes are narcisse, damascenia rose, ylang ylang, orange flower and jasmine, and the base notes include sandalwood, vetiver, tonka bean, patchouli, amber and musk.
Along with the advertising plan, Coty will distribute 12 million samples of Nokomis through the launch period, including 10 million scented strips and assorted vials and packettes to be given out in stores.
A 0.25-oz. trial-size for $5.95 will go on sale about a month before the launch, and gift sets will be introduced for the Christmas season.
Meanwhile, Raw Vanilla and Celebrate are off to solid starts, according to Abernathy.
“Raw Vanilla was a risk,” he said, noting that vanilla is not traditionally seen as a masculine note. But, he added, considering the company’s success with the women’s Vanilla Fields and Vanilla Musk brands, “we couldn’t afford not to take that risk. We couldn’t let someone else jump in our game and do a [men’s vanilla scent].”
Celebrate is also finding an audience, helped in particular by extensive in-store displays, Abernathy said.
“We’re looking forward to an excellent Christmas,” he said. “Clearly, that hasn’t been the case in the last several years.”