NEW YORK — With a dream house and a pink convertible, what more could a doll want? A signature scent, of course! And this perfect babe will get hers when the first-ever Barbie fragrance launches in August.
But who would ever have thought there could be something missing from Barbie’s world when it already includes a couture line for adults, freestanding Barbie stores in Japan, a limited-edition children’s collection by designer Julien McDonald, accessories, CD-ROMs, videos and special-edition Barbie dolls from none other than Donatella Versace and Kate Spade?
“Girls love apparel, accessories, beauty and Barbie,” said Richard Dickson, Mattel’s senior vice president of worldwide consumer products. “It’s one of these little phenomenons we’re very lucky and fortunate to have. When we decided to take the brand beyond the doll, one of the basic premises we based it on was fashion brand positioning. We jumped deep into apparel and accessories and for the last three years have really fixed that business and streamlined it around the world to be a real fashion brand.”
Barbie is already a $3.6 billion-per-year industry, including non-Mattel revenue for licensed products produced under the Barbie brand, and so far it shows no signs of stopping. Industry sources estimate Barbie Eau de Toilette could generate as much as $5 million in the U.S. alone in its first year at retail.
And what exactly do executives think a Barbie doll smells like? Well, it’s described by the company as “a bouquet of fresh flowers full of fantasy, with a magic freshness in the top note and a base note that leaves woodsy dreams and soft spiciness on the skin.”
“It’s got to be sweet,” said Dickson. “Really sweet, pretty and to some extent easy. The top note has got to react favorably right away and the dry-down has to be something that remains friendly and discreet. We think we’ve discovered the right fragrance that will not only reach little girls’ hearts but will also be something mom will enjoy, and that she can wear and feel completely fine that she is wearing a Barbie fragrance. It’s not a bubble gum fragrance, but it’s got characteristics that kids will enjoy.”
The fragrance is being produced, marketed and distributed by Mattel’s beauty licensee, Puig Beauty and Fashion Group, and the formula, created by Magic Fragarom, boasts floral, watery and aromatic top notes with a citric bouquet and blossom, cassis and green ozonic touches; middle notes are florals such as rose, mimosa, ylang ylang, muguet, violet and grape insinuations, and the bottom notes are musk, soft woodsy sensations and nutmeg.
The fragrance will be available in a 1.3-oz. bottle for $15 and a 2.5-oz. size for $20. The glass bottle is in the doll’s signature color of Barbie pink, and the outer packaging, also Barbie pink, boasts her image.
“It is being positioned as a fragrance for girls of all ages,” said Dickson. “It’s got a kitsch factor, a nostalgic factor, and a real attainability for little girls.” The target audience is six- to eight-year-old girls. However, Dickson expects it to appeal to “young adults and even mature adults who have had a relationship with Barbie.”
Barbie Eau de Toilette will launch in about 250 Federated Department Store doors nationwide, where it will be merchandised on the children’s floor adjacent to Barbie apparel. It also will be sold in Barbie boutiques along with Barbie branded apparel, accessories and other merchandise. The fragrance will roll out simultaneously in Europe, Latin America and in parts of Asia.
“It is a fine fragrance, and we think it’s an opportunity to really build and create a category that is underserved today,” said Vince Colonna, executive vice president and general manager of the Puig Fragrances and Personal Care Division, North America. He explained that Barbie Eau de Toilette is going to be a department store line and could extend into a form such as body sprays for the mass market. “We’ve seen that 75 percent of all kids wear fragrance and are using mom’s fragrance or buying it in alternate channels. This is a chance to bring back some of those customers and create a fragrance just for kids. The gift-giving season is ideal for a launch of this nature, and we wanted to partner with Federated because they have got the Barbie boutiques in some of their doors that will help us launch this fragrance.”
Though Ken and Barbie have broken up, when asked if this concept will have a male counterpart, Dickson alluded to the possibility, “Ken is not out of the picture. They are still friends and we are going to keep Ken around.”