Byline: Melissa Drier

BERLIN — Lancaster is putting Esprit to the test.
For the first Esprit fragrance — or rather series of fragrances, Esprit Scents and Senses — Lancaster is staging a prelaunch from October to February 2001 in Berlin and Hong Kong. Germany and Hong Kong are the largest markets for Esprit fashion.
In Berlin, the line of six scents — each available in seven product forms — will be sold in all of Lancaster’s 92 selective distribution doors, plus the Esprit megastore and selected fashion accounts, for a total of about 100 doors. In Hong Kong, Esprit Scents and Senses will be carried in approximately 20 department stores.
The range is a color-coded rainbow of scents and senses, meant to be worn according to mood, and mixed and matched at will. For example, there’s blue “for my dreams,” an ozonic fragrance with a touch of sea air, and the citrusy “for my vitality” in yellow. The juices were developed by IFF, Mane, Firmenich, Fragrance Resources and Tagasako.
Each fragrance is available as eau de toilette, body spray, shower gel, body lotion, scented candle, room spray and incense sticks. Prices in Germany range from approximately $20 for a 50-ml. eau de toilette to $13 for a 150-ml. body spray and $8.50 for the remaining items.
Esprit is the eleventh and youngest line in the Lancaster fragrance family, Hans-Kristian Hoejsgaard, president of the Lancaster Group, noted at the intimate launch presentation at the Esprit flagship here last week. And from the standpoint of price range — which Lancaster executives said is about 50 percent under the average in selective distribution — its younger 18- to 25-year-old target consumer and the focus on well-being, Lancaster is treading new territory with Esprit Scents and Senses.
Hence the prelaunch test, the first ever undertaken by Lancaster. “It’s a brand-new segment, and we have to fine-tune the whole idea of well-being and fragrance,” Hoejsgaard said. Moreover, with Esprit fashion merchandise currently sold in 44 countries, it is particularly important, he added, to come up with a global fragrance offering that works. To that end, a market research company will be talking to Berlin and Hong Kong consumers at point of sale during the test phase. “Of course, we want to find out which fragrance is most successful,” Hoejsgaard said, “and whether the market is ready for incense sticks and room sprays and finally whether we really need six fragrances.”
Esprit Scent and Senses will be housed in a clear glass open-sell fixture, with the products arranged per color in a six-tiered rainbow. During the test phase, Scent and Senses will be advertised in print and on outdoor posters throughout Berlin, and all six windows of the Esprit flagship were devoted to the fragrance range for its debut. “We’ll give ourselves six to seven months to fine-tune the range, and then we’ll roll it out internationally,” Hoejsgaard said. He declined to discuss sales goals at this early stage.