The sunscreen category is getting a burst of 1980s nostalgia, thanks to the new brand Vacation by Poolside FM.
The brand, which is an extension of the viral ’80s-themed online radio station, Poolside FM, is entering the market next month with a modern sunscreen product infused with nostalgia. One way the brand is achieving this goal is through the sunscreen’s scent, which it is releasing as a fragrance on Tuesday.
“We wanted to make the next iconic sunscreen smell,” said Dakota Green, who is behind the brand, along with fellow executive partners Lach Hall and Marty Bell. “We spent a long time breaking down what people like and dislike [about sunscreen] and we worked with several formulators to get the sunscreen right, but I think the fragrance was really the thing that we wanted to make sure we got absolutely right.”
Vacation by Poolside FM created this nostalgic vibe through the fragrance by examining the fragrance notes of classic sunscreen scents and other things that were reminiscent of family vacations, like the smells of pool toys, pool water and spandex Speedos. The founders teamed with Arquiste perfumer Carlos Huber and Givaudan perfumer Rodrigo Flores-Roux to create the scent, which includes notes of petitgrain essence, coconut water, bergamot, banana and sea salt.
The brand came together when Bell, who launched the Poolside FM radio station in 2014, put the word out to his community that he wanted to expand the project. He connected with Hall and Green, who were working in the sunscreen category, and decided the partnership would be a fitting extension of Poolside FM’s nostalgic vibe. They wanted to create an updated, more modern version of sunscreen that they weren’t seeing on the market.
“One of our key insights was why does all [sunscreen] have cartoon koalas on it,” Hall said. “We thought there has to be a better way to make a sunscreen brand that’s better for you and the planet and is also updated to fit in with what we believe are your most indulgent, fun moments. We wanted to create a sunscreen brand that would look good next to your martini and make sunscreen fun.”
The brand’s sunscreen is launching in June (and is available for preorder now), but Vacation by Poolside FM has been generating buzz for the products through a social media campaign that’s gone viral over the last few months. The brand’s web site features a “corporate sales video” which teases the sunscreen using 1980s beach home videos. The founders created the video with actual footage from the 1980s they licensed from the original videographer.
“The sentiment of the video was really important to us,” Green said. “We delivered it with a style that matched this notion of the sunscreen for the summer you’ve been waiting for and that last summer we didn’t have.”
The brand has also gotten customers and Poolside FM fans involved in the launch by giving out honorary roles at the company. The website offers a virtual business card where customers can sign up to get early access to the brand’s products and other exclusive materials. The sign-up generates the customer a Vacation by Poolside FM business card with campy, beach-themed job titles such as “Resident Bathrobe Tie Acrobatics Artist,” “Executive Oyster Smoothie Scientist” and “Head of Mango Society.” The founders said they had over 10,000 customers sign up for the business cards within two days of releasing them.
“Poolside FM is really catchy because it infuses layers of nostalgia, whether it’s the way you interact with the website or the music,” Bell said. “Everything [with the brand] is being designed to have those layers of nostalgia again to hopefully re-create that virality of Poolside FM in a product.”
The Vacation by Poolside FM fragrance is available now on the brand’s website for $60. The SPF 30 Classic Lotion is available for pre-sale for $20.
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