Byline: Cara Kagan

NEW YORK — Coty hopes that after six years on the market, its newly acquired Aspen fragrances will explode with a new spurt of growth.
The company has set its sights on a 28 percent sales increase for the two fragrances. It hopes to achieve these gains through bolstered advertising support, a new campaign that repositions the brand, stepped-up sampling and increased in-store activity.
“Aspen is still a relatively new brand for us since it only came to us about a year ago when Quintessence was absorbed into Coty,” said Rita Herzmansky, marketing director for the Aspen brands, which includes a men’s scent launched in 1989 and a women’s version that followed in 1990. “But we see it as a major growth brand and so have decided to support it with all the energy generally put behind new brands. We think Aspen is a real sleeper.”
Coty executives expect that the added effort will boost the Aspen franchise by 28 percent, giving it a retail volume of $60 million.
Consumers first got a taste of the new Aspen during the fourth quarter of last year when a new TV and print campaign broke. Coty supported the endeavor with $10 million, Herzmansky said, to compensate for the minimal level of support during the last several years.
The campaign’s objective was to change Aspen’s positioning, which under Quintessence, had been linked to the rugged outdoors of Aspen in the summer. The tagline was the rather generic: “Trust Your Instincts.”
Coty decided to shift seasons and focus on the more prevalent connotations the area carries — skiing, winter resorts and celebrity sightings. The new tagline is: “It’s more than the altitude. It’s Aspen.”
Aspen will be supported with the same budget this year, Herzmansky said, with the bulk of the funds put behind the Christmas selling season and Father’s Day.
Another aspect of Coty’s strategy is to make the men’s brand more appealing to women.
“Right now only 50 percent of the Aspen for Men’s purchases are made by women,”Herzmansky said. “We want to take that up higher. The biggest season for the men’s fragrance business is Christmas and that is mainly because of the gift-giving done by women.” Herzmansky noted that Coty was shooting for a ratio comparable to its Stetson and Preferred Stock men’s brands where 65 percent of the purchases are made by women.
The men’s brand will be advertised in 12 magazines, some of which are aimed at men, such as Inside Sports, as well as women’s service books, like Redbook. Coty will take aim at people who are enamored of Aspen’s status with the stars by placing ads in celebrity-oriented publications, such as People, In Style and Us.
Ads for Aspen for Women will appear in 13 publications including women’s fashion and service monthlies and teen publications, such as YM.
Ski enthusiasts will also be targeted. Coty will advertise Aspen in Ski magazine this year. There is also a sampling program running at 12 ski resorts nationwide now, where the company plans to distribute a total of 50,000 fragranced packettes.
As part of the amplified advertising effort, Coty will triple its men’s scent strip effort to six million insertions this year. Aspen For Women will be sampled with two million scented strips, Herzmansky said.
Coty will also pass out 300,000 Aspen samples at school’s during Open House events in Chicago, Atlanta, Dallas, Minneapolis and Orlando.
“This way we are hitting women aged 35 to 49, a major segment of the gift-giving market,” Herzmansky said. “We chose markets where we have exceptionally strong accounts. For example, in Minneapolis, Target is very strong.”
In-store promotions are also part of the marketing mix. This month, the firm will send a free T-shirt with the Aspen logo to consumers who mail in a proof-of-purchase.
During the second half of this year, Coty will run the “Celebrity Spotters” contest. Entrants are instructed to write in naming the famous people they have seen on the slopes and then to write a brief essay explaining why so many stars come to Aspen.
The grand prize winner will receive $5,000 in cash. Five first prize winners get Camcorders. The 25 second prize winners will receive cameras.
Coty will advertise the promotion in May and June issues.