NEW YORK — This fall, Chanel is taking a Chance on a new age group.

This story first appeared in the June 14, 2002 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

With its newest scent, Chance, the company is drawing a bead on the lucrative 21- to 29-year-old age group — which, like its teenage counterpart, contains a pool of consumers ready and willing to spend money on fragrances and cosmetics.

“We think Chance is an ideal name on a number of levels,” said Arie Kopelman, president and chief operating officer of Chanel Inc. “One of them ties to our corporate heritage — …one of Coco Chanel’s better-known sayings was `I had a chance, and I took it’ — but that aside, kids today realize that they have to take more chances to get anywhere.”

And while launching a new fragrance in fall’s crowded field could also be construed as taking a chance, Chanel’s Jean Hoehn Zimmerman, executive vice president of sales and marketing for fragrance and beauty, is optimistic: “Not only is this an age group with a lot of potential, the Chanel name itself carries a lot of power. Even in tough times, classics are magnets. And this is a classic name and a great new scent.”

In fact, Kopelman is so confident of Chance’s potential that he has already dubbed it “Chanel No. 5 for the next generation.” He added that this is the youngest-ever target age for a Chanel fragrance.

Created by in-house perfumer Jacques Polge, Chance was designed to be a “constellation” of orbiting notes, with no true top, middle or bottom notes. Instead, the formula’s notes are carried through from spray-on to drydown. They include citron, baie rose, white musk, iris, jasmine, fresh vetiver, amber, patchouli and hyacinth, explained Laurie Palma, senior vice president of fragrance and Internet marketing. “This scent has a combination of notes rarely found in such concentrations in women’ s fragrances,” she added, “which makes for a fresh and energetic juice.”

Chance’s bottle, designed by Chanel’s artistic director Jacques Helleu, is a departure from the signature Chanel glass rectangle. Instead, Chance is a round glass bottle ringed in silver and topped with a square cap. The outer box is pearlized pink with gold sides, while the name of the fragrance is in silver and the Chanel logo in black.

The collection includes five stockkeeping units — a 1.2-oz. eau de toilette spray, $38.50; a 1.7-oz. version, $50; a 3.4 -oz. size, $75; a 1.7-oz. pour, $45, and a 6.8- oz. body lotion for $42.50. There also will be a gift set available for the holiday selling season, which includes a 1.2-oz. eau de toilette spray, a 3.4-oz. body moisturizer and a logo bag, retailing for $52.50.

The scent launches in the U.S. in September, to the company’s full complement of approximately 2,000 specialty store, department store and Chanel boutique doors. It will roll out to Europe and Asia beginning in March. “We believe that this name and concept is especially suited to the American market, and we want to create the buzz in the U.S. before it is rolled out elsewhere,” said Andrea D’Avack, managing director, fragrance and beauty division, Chanel.

While none of the executives would comment on projected first-year sales targets or advertising and promotional budgets, industry sources estimated that Chance would do about $35 million at retail in its first year on counter and that about $15 million would be spent on advertising and promotion.

Both print and TV advertising are planned; Helleu and Jean-Paul Goude created the campaign, and Goude shot the print campaign and directed the TV spot. Both the TV and print ads feature up-and-coming model Anne Vyalitsyna, tapped to be the global face of Chance. The print advertising is slated to begin running in October fashion, beauty and lifestyle magazines; many will include scented inserts. The TV campaign — with spots planned in 15 key markets as well as on MTV, VH1 and E! — will begin in September. The commercial was shot in Venice and shows a chance meeting between Vyalitsyna and a young man, with the song “Taking a Chance on Love” playing in the background. Newspaper co-op advertising, bus shelters, billboards and sky murals in malls are also on tap.

Counting on this market’s love for trying new things, Chanel also is planning an intensive sampling campaign. Sample vehicles will include a rollerball mini-bottle, a bubble card revealing the scent, vials-on-cards, scented catalog inserts and blow-ins, with more than 40 million scented impressions planned. Also counting on its target generation’s love of the Internet, Chanel is offering visitors to its Web site the chance to send friends — or themselves — personalized scented postcards with an invitation to come in to a local retailer for a sample. The company will key the retailers in to the cards, relying on the zip code offered.

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