MONTBLANC: SCALING NEW HEIGHTS WITH SCENT

Byline: Jennifer Weil

MEGEVE, France — Montblanc has a new fashion altitude.
The German luxury-goods company, which got its start as a high-end writing implements producer in 1906, is set to launch its first fragrance, a men’s scent called Presence.
Presence was unveiled by its new beauty licensor Cosmopolitan Cosmetics/Intercosmetics Inc., the Wella Fragrance and Cosmetics Group, in stages throughout a four-course, gala dinner here, at the celebrated ski resort near Mont Blanc. The fete was also sprinkled with live entertainment, such as flame-wielding ice skaters and horn blowers.
Cosmopolitan senior vice president Michael Forster hosted the evening and introduced Montblanc as a company that had “successfully transformed itself into an international luxury brand,” including leather goods, belts, watches, jewelry and eyeglass frames.
“Now that we have synergies between the two companies, you could say Cosmopolitan Cosmetics is scaling new heights,” he added, referring to the beauty deal inked with Montblanc, a member of the Vendome Luxury Group, last June. Cosmopolitan also holds the beauty licenses for brands such as Gucci, Dunhill and Anna Sui.
Forster explained that in developing Presence, Cosmopolitan incorporated “Montblanc’s core values,” which include refinement and style.
The Presence fragrance bottle, a glass half globe on a black rectangle, was created in-house by Franzrudolf Lehnert, vice president, creative. The scent’s advertisement, which will break at launch time as single and double pages in men’s and women’s lifestyle publications, was created by Wieden & Kennedy in Amsterdam. It pictures a woman facing the Presence bottle, which seems suspended in darkness.
“The whole idea is the presence of man — someone present has an aura; he’s more than what you see,” explained Forster. That’s why the company chose the name “Presence” — and also because the word has the same meaning in English and French.
The fragrance will be launched worldwide in June in selective distribution, including Montblanc stores, save for the U.S., where Presence will be introduced in August.
While Forster would not divulge numbers, industry sources estimate the scent could ring up $40 million at wholesale in its first 12 months worldwide.
The scent’s juice, created by Drom, includes top notes of bergamot, ginger, cardamom and cinnamon; middle notes of sage, apple and heliotrope, and base notes of sandalwood, teak, amber, tonka bean and white musk. “It is fresh at the outset, with a heat that mounts,” explained Ferdinand Storp, general manager at Drom.
The fragrance lineup includes a 2.5-oz. eau de toilette spray that should retail for about $55 and a 1.7-oz. eau de toilette spray for about $42. Ancillaries include a 2.6-oz. deodorant stick for $19; a 6.8-oz. body moisturizer and 6.8-oz. shower “breeze,” for $25 each, and a 2.5-oz. after shave balm and 2.5-oz. aftershave lotion, for $40 each. At such price points, Presence is the most accessible product in the Montblanc range.
The scent’s introduction will be accompanied by a sampling campaign, including vials on cards and minis, plus scented advertising and scented direct mail.
Montblanc started out by launching a men’s scent, since some 60 percent of its sales are still generated by males.
“It is true that the brand has a very strong male connotation,” explained Forster, “but it is moving into [the world of women].”

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