Byline: Pete Born

NEW YORK — Victoria’s Secret Beauty has at least one answer to the age-old question of ‘what do women want?’ A hot-looking man who smells inviting.
That’s some of the thinking behind the decision of the company, which is identified with one of the sexiest lingerie brands in the world, to boldly tackle the men’s market with a fragrance called Very Sexy for Him.
Robin Burns, president and chief executive officer of Intimate Beauty Corp. and its Victoria’s Secret Beauty division, explained the rationale. “It’s so obvious,” she said. “The majority of men’s fragrances are bought by women.”
She added, “Doing a men’s fragrance called Very Sexy for Him is controversial. But it’s a great name because it’s viewed through the eyes of a woman.”
Indeed, the ad photographed by Mikael Jansson, which will double as a window visual, shows an intrigued-looking Gisele Bundchen looking at a male model as he enters an elevator. “She’s exuding a sexy surprise,” Burns said of Gisele, noting that the elevator setting was chosen as a public place where a man and woman can interact through a fragrance. The camera focuses on the woman’s face. All that is seen of the man, model Nelson Vance, is his back.
“We don’t have a male supermodel,” Burns joked referring to Bundchen’s contract with Intimate Brands Inc., parent of Intimate Beauty. The six-item fragrance line, priced from $33 for a 1.7-oz. cologne spray to $48 for the 3.4-oz. size, will make its debut Monday with a sneak preview of the two cologne sizes. The full line will be rolled out Oct. 29. The fragrance will be distributed to the gamut of 996 Victoria’s Secret Beauty and lingerie stores.
In a presentation to investors Wednesday, Burns said she expects the fragrance to produce sales of $10 million to $15 million for this season and to break into the top 10 with sales climbing upwards of $40 million for the year.
This launch is the first step in establishing a sub-masterbrand. Next fall Victoria’s Secret plans to introduce a Very Sexy bra and Burns plans to follow suit with a Very Sexy for her fragrance.
In addition to making full use of the 12,000 running feet of display windows with promotional visuals, starting Oct. 28, the fragrance will be advertised with scented strips in the Victoria’s Secret lingerie catalog, which has a total circulation of four million. The ad will also appear in the October issue of the men’s outsert of Vogue and in the November issue of Cosmopolitan, which focuses on men.
In addition to the 1.5 million vial-on-card samples handed out in-store, the company will break new ground with a mail order campaign, consisting of 1.5 million scented pieces sent to Victoria’s Secret customers. This is significant since it will mean reaching into what Burns calls “the second bucket” of potential customers. The mail order campaign will make use of the database of 20 million lingerie customers who have never bought Victoria’s Secret beauty products. In addition, a Very Sexy for Him sample will be included in every Victoria’s Secret merchandise delivery mailed during November, to a tune of 500,000 samples.
Doug Lloyd created the bottle with an architectural look to give it a masculine feel. Firmenich aimed for sex appeal in the fragrance with clean, fresh top notes and a dry down with a proprietary musk, sequoia wood and caraway seeds.