Scratch-and-Sniff Facebook Effort is Gud -- If You Like Diesel Fumes

Burt's Bees Personal-Care Offshoot Goes for Irreverance and Fragrance

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In contrast to a beauty business that tends to take itself pretty seriously, Burt's Bees is launching a fragrance-focused offshoot brand named Gud (spelled with an umlat and pronounced "good") for millennial women with a fairly offbeat, lighthearted take.

Unlike most scented beauty ads, Gud's isn't just about wildflowers and fresh spring breezes.
Unlike most scented beauty ads, Gud's isn't just about wildflowers and fresh spring breezes.

Gud is formally launching a scratch-and-sniff-along Facebook video March 6 in which people can smell along using a scent card being distributed through such magazines as Allure and Lucky, along with handouts from guerrilla street teams at six large universities nationwide. It's all part of a campaign by Baldwin&, Raleigh, N.C.

Unlike most scented beauty ads, Gud's isn't just about wildflowers and fresh spring breezes. Some of the scent bubbles try to duplicate diesel exhaust, garbage and urban storm-sewer smells.

The focus on irreverence and fun is central to the Gud proposition, said Garrett Putman, marketing manager for the brand. "Most of the [beauty] category thinks that being beautiful is what makes women happy," he said. "We've kind of turned that on its head and said, 'Being happy is what makes women beautiful.' And so everything we've done we've tried to take on a fun, irreverent personality -- from the product package to the copy on the back to the marketing campaign."

The campaign is social at its core, said David Baldwin, principal of Baldwin&, anchored on the Facebook video (which, along with product samples and exposure via the Burt's Bees Facebook page, has already built a fan base of 170,000 prior to launch) and Twitter.

The fragrance focus represents a small step away from the natural positioning of parent Burt's Bees, a unit of Clorox Co., as Gud's more complex fragrances require some synthetic ingredients, said Jim Geike, VP-global marketing of Burt's Bees. He said, however, that the fragrances are still 97% natural and don't have phthalates or petroleum-based materials.

"The Burt's Bees consumer is highly educated and seeking natural ingredients," Mr. Putman said. The Gud consumer natural personal-care is more "trendy," and she's aware of them, but she's really more focused on indulgent fragrances offered by such brands specialty brands as Lush and Bath & Body Works, he said.

Gud, which includes body butter, hand wash, shampoo , conditioner, hand cream, body wash, body lotion and body mist priced $5 to $15, is a stark contrast to another personal-care launch this year, Unilever's Simple, which is scent-free and aimed at consumers with sensitive skin.

There may be room for both. Fragrance is clearly a big driver in beauty, said Mr. Geike. Unlike Burt's,which originally took decades to develop prior to national scope and expansion to Target and Walmart Stores in recent years under Clorox , Gud is starting its life at Walmart , Target , Kroger, Walgreens, Ulta and e-tailers. That's a testament to consumer and retailer excitement today about natural personal care, he said.

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