NEW YORK — A small addition to the program of this year’s Hero Award ceremonies Monday evening indicated a much larger change of direction for the perennial sponsor, Chesebrough-Pond’s USA.
Fabergé, a division of Chesebrough, was named a co-sponsor of the event. The subtle addition reflects a determination by Chesebrough’s new president and chief executive officer, Patrick J. Choel, to increase the visibility and to polish the image of Faberge and its classic men’s fragrance, Brut, while expanding the brand.
Choel, who managed Faberge in France before moving to Chesebrough- Pond’s early this year, said that Brut is distributed in the mass market in France, as it is here, but there the brand’s image is a “little more high class than in the U.S.” He added that he intends to “raise its image to be more middle class.”
Choel said Chesebrough is planning to sponsor art shows, such as an exhibition of Faberge’s jewel encrusted eggs, and will be a sponsor of the Americas Cup.
According to industry sources, Chesebrough executives believe they can double the Brut business. The brand now does about $75 million wholesale in the U.S. and twice that worldwide.
Bill Ecker, vice president of marketing at Chesebrough-Pond’s USA and Fabergé, said the company is talking to the Metropolitan Museum of Art about possibly putting together a traveling show. Ecker and Choel discussed plans during a break in the Hero Award festivities at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. The award ceremony drew a crowd of nearly 900 and raised $300,000 in ticket sales for the evening. That is in addition to the $800,000 in advertising and promotion from Chesebrough.