JOOP’S NIGHTFLIGHT TO TAKE WING
Byline: Pete Born
NEW YORK — Lancaster Group USA will launch a Wolfgang Joop men’s scent called Nightflight in the U.S. this spring in an attempt to solidify the German designer’s foothold in the American market.
With the mid-April introduction, the company will set out to build upon a brand awareness that was created from scratch little more than two years ago.
Back then, the Hamburg-based designer, virtually unknown in the U.S., was introduced here for the launch of his earlier fragrances via a series of clever marketing tricks. There were teaser ads in the New York Times and a fleet of taxis circling Bloomingdale’s with Joop’s name beaming from electric signs affixed to their roofs.
“Joop had no recognition level in the U.S.,” said Richard Roderick, vice president of fragrance sales at Lancaster Group. “We had to create an awareness.”
But since its introduction in fall 1992, the designer’s Joop Homme scent has carved a niche in the men’s fragrance market with a distribution of 1,800 doors and a retail volume estimated by industry sources at $25 million to $30 million. In addition to Homme, Joop’s women’s fragrance, Femme, also was launched in 1992.
Last year, Joop launched his men’s ready-to-wear line at Saks Fifth Avenue, kindling name recognition further.
Bradley H. Friedrich, vice president of fragrance marketing at Lancaster Group, sees Nightflight as the next step.
“It’s a natural extension of Joop’s presence in the fragrance market here,” he said.
Lancaster executives declined to make sales projections or break out advertising budgets, but according to sources, the target for Joop Nightflight is $30 million to $35 million at retail through December.
The fragrance was originally launched in Germany in September 1992 and rolled out in Europe. Although Roderick and Friedrich would not provide volume figures, they said the fragrance has fluctuated in the German volume rankings between third and fourth place.
Instead of trying to increase the visibility of the designer, as was the case two years ago, Lancaster now is using all its muscle to build the awareness of the Nightflight scent itself.
“This is a departure for us,” said Roderick, explaining that instead of giving regional breaks to selected launch stores, Nightflight will be introduced marketwide in 1,500 doors simultaneously.
“We all felt that we have an important product,” said Friedrich, “and it made more sense to go marketwide and get the message and juice out there all at once. We have a marketing program that will reach all 1,500 doors. It will be very competitive and very effective.”
Lancaster is ready to stand behind the scent with a financially aggressive scented strip and sampling program. Sources estimate that Lancaster will spend $8 million to $10 million on advertising and promotion, which includes a national magazine, but not a TV campaign.
The magazine mix will include women’s fashion and beauty publications, such as Vogue, Cosmopolitan, Elle and Allure. There also will be ads in men’s books — Esquire, GQ and Rolling Stone.
Friedrich added that the company also will use shelter publications, such as Elle Decor, as a way of tapping into lifestyle interests. He said Lancaster had strong results with shelter magazines during the launch last year of Casmir by Parfums Chopard.
The list of magazines was tailored to cover overlapping readerships.
“Women still buy a lot of men’s fragrances, but men are still making the decisions,” he said.
The magazine campaign, consisting of single- and double-page ads, was photographed by Herb Ritts.
Over 40 million scented strips will be disseminated, 75 percent of them in the first two months of the launch, executives said. Another 30 million to 40 million scented strip cards will be inserted into stores’ catalogs. In addition, about one million of the scented pieces will be handed out in stores.
About 500,000 carded vials will be disseminated, Friedrich said, as well as more than 100,000 deluxe miniatures.
The line consists of seven products, with an opening price point of $37.50 for a 2.5-oz. eau de toilette.
The fragrance, developed with Quest International, was described by the executives as combining citrus and floral notes with a burst of freshness.
The name and the positioning were taken from the title of a novel written by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry and published by Harcourt Brace in 1932. It was a story of aviators, flying open-cockpit biplanes that transported mail in South America. An allusion is made to the night sky by the design of the bottle, which is made of dark blue glass and studded with abstract designs.