NEW YORK — The cliff-hanger finale of this season’s installment of “The O.C.” has many fans eagerly awaiting new episodes in November. AMC Beauty hopes they will also be enthusiastic about two new scents based on the smash TV hit that has a loyal teen following.
In October, AMC will launch The O.C. for Her and The O.C. for Him, two scents inspired by the Newport Beach lifestyle made popular on the TV show watched by nearly six million viewers.
“The O.C.” not only ranks among the top 20 shows among teens, but is the number-one show in its time period among female teens. “The show is about a lifestyle that is a natural to translate into fragrance, and we’ve worked very hard on this. If you closed your eyes and thought about ‘The O.C.,’ this is what it would smell like,” said Maryellen Zarakas, senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing and Television and Studio Licensing for Warner Bros. Consumer Products.
With the launch of “The O.C.” scents, AMC continues its formula for basing fragrances on TV shows. The company was the brains behind ABC’s Fusion and Enchantment, both based on “All My Children” and launched exclusively at Wal-Mart. AMC has also worked with Warner Bros. in the past on properties, such as “Scooby-Doo” cologne.
With a plethora of celebrity options, AMC is perhaps hitting upon the next big trend: TV-inspired scents. The idea harks back to the Eighties, when Forever Krystle was a huge mass market hit based on the show “Dynasty.” There are other TV-backed scents, such as the already proven “Orange County Choppers” Full Throttle cologne and Coty’s “Desperate Housewives” fragrance.
“The Eighties are back,” joked Debbie Hicks, vice president, licensing and business development for AMC Beauty, who likened the season-ending cliff-hanger of “The O.C.” to the frenzy surrounding “Dallas” after the “Who Shot J.R.?” episode. “This is an incredible opportunity for us to align with a well-respected licensor and a hit TV show. We’re all working toward making this a successful launch,” she said.
Industry sources expect sales of “The O.C.” fragrances could top $15 million in the first year. AMC admitted that the lifeline of the fragrance will be tied to the continued success of the TV show.
“The O.C.” features an ensemble cast, and because of that, AMC beauty thought it appropriate to launch a men’s and women’s scent simultaneously. The woman’s is a fruity, floral scent designed to appeal to feminine, girl-next-door types. There’s a rebel side to The O.C. for Him, inspired by the Ryan character, with a mixture punctuated by fresh ozonic notes and a sea spray, as well as a hint of black pepper. The fragrances were tested with college students.
Both scents enter the mass market at a somewhat pivotal moment, when sales are rising for the first time in several years. According to data from ACNielsen, women’s fragrance sales for the 52-week period ended June 22, rose 7.8 percent to $510 million. Men’s rose 9.8 percent over the same period to $144 million. Both numbers are food, drug and mass excluding Wal-Mart.
“The O.C.” fragrances are available in a 0.5-oz. size retailing for $12 and a 1.7-oz. version for $22.50. There will also be gift sets for the holiday season.
The fragrances will not only benefit from a magazine placement that will feature one million scent strips, but also from advertising in teen-oriented publications and related e-mail blasts. “It is a full 360-degree campaign,” said Rita Herzmansky, vice president of marketing. She added that retailers have been excited about the fragrance because it will have a great “buzz” with young shoppers.
Although the scents will launch in roughly 10,000 mass doors, there will be exclusive products for prestige doors. “The O.C.” has other licensed merchandise, including apparel, trivia games, DVDs and soon-to-be-released handbags.
The scents will be introduced in counter displays highlighting the blue and pink bottles. AMC expects the scents will attract shoppers who might have been purchasing fragrances in other doors. And, although the target audience is 18- to 25-year-olds, the company said there are many parents who relate to “The O.C.,” too.
“The O.C.” fragrances will join other new mass market scents that buyers hope will keep the fragrance momentum going, including a new fragrance flanker from Antonio Banderas, the mass release of Baby Phat and JLo Live, Scentology and a mass offshoot of Clean.