MILAN — Bulgari is out to strengthen its masculine image with a new men’s scent, dubbed Bulgari Man and slated to bow in September.
This story first appeared in the July 9, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The scent was unveiled during men’s fashion week here, with the help of Golden Globe winner Clive Owen, who is the face in the advertising.
Bulgari hopes the fragrance will reinforce the company’s men’s wear pillar. “The intention is not only to add another fragrance but to set the tone of our masculine world. If you look at the other men’s fragrances in our arena, in our opinion Pour Homme is formal and Aqua is sporty. They are good complements to this new product, which should be a pillar in the portfolio,” said Francesco Trapani, Bulgari’s chief executive officer.
Bulgari Man eau de toilette sprays will be available in three sizes: $79 for a 100-ml. bottle, $58 for a 60-ml. size and $42 for 30 ml. A 200-ml. bath and shower gel, at $35, a 100-ml. aftershave balm, at $44, and a deodorant stick launching in January, priced at $25, will accompany the fragrance.
Trapani said the scent’s launch is not about extending the Rome-based company’s masculine presence. “The equilibrium we have between the two sides in the business is correct,” he said, sitting in the teak-clad cigar room of the Bulgari hotel. “Next year, we’ll refocus our attention on a new women’s range of perfumes.”
Bulgari’s 2010 first-quarter results saw a spike in sales for its fragrance and cosmetics division to 45.2 million euros, or around $62.4 million, an increase of 30.4 percent at comparable exchange rates, or 28.8 percent at current exchange rates. Bulgari’s fragrance business accounted for 23.7 percent of company revenues in 2009, according to Trapani.
Trapani said rather than trying to expand the fragrance business, the company is pushing the accessories category. “It’s the only part still underexploited,” he said. “Our strategy calls for a table with four legs and today we only have three and a half,” he said, referring to beauty, watches, jewelry and accessories.
Julianne Moore was tapped as the face of Bulgari’s 2010 accessories advertising campaigns — the first appearing this past February. “For the first time, our accessories were exposed with an important, worldwide campaign,” said Trapani. “We have the retail space for accessories, the internal know-how, and a very good assortment of products, but what we lack is top-of-mindness, and somehow, credibility.”
Bulgari Man’s media campaign featuring Owen is likely to be as high profile. The company said it will issue 13 million scented pieces — comprising scented strips, catalogue inserts and magazine ads — that will reach 22 million people. The scent is set for a global rollout beginning in September, with a goal of reaching 20,000 doors by the end of the year. Industry sources estimate that Bulgari is aiming for a first-year sales target of $10 million at retail.
The advertising campaign draws its inspiration from the elegant glitz and faded glamour of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novels, captured by photographer Mario Sorrenti in Los Angeles with art direction from Riccardo Ruini. A visual from the campaign features a brooding sepia-esque Owen wearing a Bulgari Endurer Chrono Sprint watch, with the fragrance placed in the ad’s corner replete with the tag line “masculine charisma.”
The juice has a woody fragrance with an oriental touch created by Alberto Morillas of Firmenich.
“We wanted to create a new generation of masculine sexy and fresh perfumes,” said Morillas. The Bulgari Man fragrance is designed with classic woody overtones and a high-tech edge. Top notes of bergamot, pear and violet leaves are blended with a heart of white wood and a vegetal amber — based on a Firmenich molecule, dubbed Ambrox, synthesized from clary sage.
“It’s the first time it has been used in such large proportions,” said Morillas, who added a natural vetiver essential oil to give the formula an exotic touch. “It’s very sexy vetiver and was a new challenge to extract. We removed the dark, woody, earthy part to leave the lightest and white, woody part.” The oriental scent was given a refined and modern twist with a drydown consisting of balsamic ingredients, including benzoin, a natural resin collected from the Styrax tree, and honey SoftAct, a fruity extract described as a “haute couture raw material.”
The bottle’s solid clean lines are topped by a gunmetal cap bearing the house’s sunburst motif meant to recall the dial of one of its watches. Its transparent monolithic form was created by Atelier Oi.