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Calvin Klein Hatches a ‘Spiritual’ Escape

NEW YORK -- Calvin Klein has a new advertising campaign for his Escape men's and women's fragrances. It will be the driving force behind an introduction of body products in the U.S. this fall and a 12-country rollout in Europe.

The print and TV...

NEW YORK — Calvin Klein has a new advertising campaign for his Escape men’s and women’s fragrances. It will be the driving force behind an introduction of body products in the U.S. this fall and a 12-country rollout in Europe.

The print and TV campaign sharply contrasts with Klein’s 1991 effort, in which a couple are portrayed indulging in the more upscale getaway pursuits of sailing, horseback riding and water skiing.

In the new version, a couple has gone native by heading to an intimate retreat on a rustic island off the coast of Panama. The sparkling sailboat of three years ago has been traded in for a well-weathered, rough-hewn canoe.

Neil Kraft, senior vice president and creative director of advertising at Klein’s CRK in-house agency, said the designer tried to portray more of a spiritual sense of escape in the new version. The original ads, Kraft said, were “less spiritual and more material.”

The TV spots and print ads, which were photographed by Mario Sorrenti, will begin appearing this summer.

Print ads with scented strips will appear in July issues of national magazines in the U.S. and Canada. They will run in the United Kingdom in August and in Europe in September.

The first TV flights will be broadcast in the U.S. in July, followed by Canada, the U.K. and Continental Europe in December.

Executives at Calvin Klein Cosmetics, the designer’s licensee, said this is the first time the cosmetics company has rolled out a global ad campaign.

The markets on the Continent are Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Italy, Spain, Holland, Portugal, Germany, Greece, Austria and Switzerland.

Klein executives declined comment on budgets and sales projections, but sources estimate that the cosmetics firm will spend more than $9 million this year on TV advertising in the U.S., Canada and Europe.

The bill for print advertising, including scented strips, is expected to hit $18 million in the U.S. and Canada, $6 million in Europe and another $1 million in markets scattered across Latin America, the Mideast and the Far East.

In the U.S., the campaign will support the launch of the Escape for Men Body Collection, which follows last fall’s launch of the men’s fragrance of the same name.

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As a warmup, the company will ship in early June an estimated 40,000 preview kits, containing seven travel-sized items, including 1.7-oz. sizes of an eau de toilette spray and after shave balm.

The kit, which will be distributed to all of Klein’s 2,200 doors in the U.S. and Canada, will be priced at $38.50 but is a $72 value, according to the company.

As with past Klein launches, the five-item body collection will follow in August.

Prices range from $14 for a glycerin soap and deodorant to $25 for a $16-oz. muscle soak. The other items are a combination hair and body shampoo, at $18.50 for 6.7 ounces, and a body moisturizer, $20 for 6.7 ounces.

The muscle soak is a first for a Calvin Klein men’s line. Kim Delsing, president of the cosmetics company, said the item was included to echo the fragrance’s marketing position.

“People are looking not only for physical escape, but mental escape,” Delsing said.

The line, which is alcohol-free, also marks the first time the firm has launched products without outer packaging.

Delsing said the line was restricted to five products as a bow to the tightening of inventory controls in the industry, with the prevalence of new computerized systems.

“We usually introduce seven items,” she said, referring to previous body product launches.

Paulanne Mancuso, executive vice president, said Klein usually introduces body product extensions a year after a fragrance’s introduction as a way of helping stores anniversary their launch numbers from the previous year.

Delsing estimated that the body line will increase the Escape for Men sales by 10 percent in the U.S., a conservative estimate reflecting the fact that Klein does the bulk of its business in fragrance items.

According to industry estimates, Escape for Men exceeded its launch plan last fall by doing $23 million at wholesale in 700 doors. With a full rollout to 2,200 doors this year, the line is expected to do $40 million. That would put the projected volume of the body products at $4 million.

Sources say the worldwide volume for both Escape fragrances is expected to shoot to $125 million this year, a 49 percent jump.

The increase will be driven in part by a rollout in August and September of Escape for women in Europe. Escape for Men will follow next spring.