AVON’S FAR AWAY: SECRETS TO SUCCESS

Byline: SOREN LARSON

NEW YORK — Since its launch last September, Far Away has become far and away Avon’s biggest fragrance introduction in the company’s 109-year history.
In its initial selling period through Christmas, the women’s scent — Avon’s first global launch — raked in sales of $32 million in 10 markets, according to Joseph Bierman, director of U.S. fragrance marketing and global brand development.
And the product has continued on that pace so far this year, he added, saying, “We’re ahead of plan. This fragrance has a lot of staying power, and we’re seeing significant repeat sales.”
While breaking volume records for the direct-sales giant, whose previous biggest introduction was Imari in 1985, Far Away also represents a break from the past in other ways, Bierman said.
The secret to Far Away’s success, he said, is a combination of the company’s new attention to prestige imagery and an affordable price tag, as compared with department store fragrances.
“One example of the difference is that this was the first fragrance we’ve launched with a perfume,” he said. “So the concentration and quality was higher from that perspective. The lead fragrance was an eau de parfum, instead of the usual cologne.
“It was also priced several dollars higher than our typical range,” he added. “We determined that our customer will pay for quality.”
The Far Away scent, which was created by Givaudan-Roure, is classified as a floral-oriental. It is sold in two forms: a 1.7-oz. eau de parfum spray for $18.50 and a 0.5-oz. parfum for $45.
To support the launch, Avon ran its first TV ad campaign for a fragrance since 1988, when Undeniable was promoted. The ad ran for three weeks in the fall in various regional markets.
While TV was the only advertising tool in the U.S., the international markets, including Asia, Europe and Central and South America, benefited from print as well as TV campaigns.
Avon also gave Far Away extensive coverage in its sales brochures and distributed millions of vials on cards.
“We have no plans to advertise this year, but through the year, we’ll continue to have scented pages in the brochures,” Bierman said. “This kind of followup is another first for us.”
He stressed that another reason for Far Away’s solid sales is the universal acceptance of its concept and imagery.
“We hadn’t originally planned to go for a global launch,” he said. “We have brands that are sold around the world, but with subtle differences for each market. But we had the feeling that this concept would work in all the various markets.”
That concept, according to the company, is an invitation for a woman to take a break from everyday stresses.
“What we tried to get across is that Far Away invites the user to take a few moments to herself, to get away and deal with her own priorities,” Bierman said. “This place is different for every woman — that’s why we gave it a more ambiguous name, rather than name it after a specific location.”
Once Avon had decided to introduce the scent simultaneously worldwide, a strategy was put in place to promote consistency.
“We wanted our visual execution to work around the globe — every brochure you picked up anywhere had the same presentation,” Bierman said. “The demographic target was a core fragrance customer who uses fragrance on a regular basis, mixes mass with class, has an average education and an average income, and preferably has children,” he said. “This represented a consumer that we weren’t reaching as much as we had in the past.”
Avon hopes to keep the momentum going with its next major fragrance introduction: another global launch, set for the fourth quarter of this year.
“We hope we sent a message with [Far Away],” Bierman said. “People will look for more quality from us in the future.
“It may sound simple,” he added, “but it comes down to a quality product at an affordable price.”