Elle, Cosmo to Include Actual Vials Of Perfume With November Issues

A (Costly) Step Up from Scent Strips

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Some subscribers of four Hearst magazines will soon get perfume samples in an apparently new fashion for the industry: via sample vials of Marc Jacobs Daisy and Daisy Eau So Fresh.

The two-and-a-half milliliter tubes will come poly-bagged to 100,000 copies of the November issues of Elle, Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire and Seventeen, for a total of 400,000 subscribers, according to Hearst Magazines. Affixing sample-size bottles of perfume to magazines is believed to be a first. "The technology just didn't exist," said Michael Clinton, president-marketing and publishing director of Hearst Magazines.

For magazine publishers, it could serve as yet another way to attract dollars from beauty advertisers, which has been among a handful of persistent bright spots for the industry. In the first half of 2013, the number of ad pages for toiletries and cosmetics climbed 3.3% industry wide while ad pages as a whole declined, the Publishers Information Bureau said.

"Until you get a scratch and sniff on your smartphone, magazine media has a unique selling proposition to allow samples," Mr. Clinton said. "This gives our medium an even bigger play into beauty advertising -- a big growth category and probably one of the biggest categories in the magazine marketplace."

The issues will not appear on the newsstand, he added, because of the possibility that the issues containing the samples will not sell out. "It's expensive," said Mr. Clinton, declining to name the specific costs. "On the newsstand you have the potential for a lot of waste."

"We've been working on this for almost 10 months to ensure we could get all the quality controls in place and fit postal guidelines," he added.

A spokeswoman for Marc Jacobs Fragrances said in an email that scent sampling is key to driving purchases. "We felt this new form of sampling is an innovative way of getting fragrance into consumers' hands," the spokeswoman said.

This isn't the first time Hearst has looked beyond the classic fragrance strip. In 1998, it introduced a sealed gel capsule for perfume that appeared in issues of Marie Claire and the now defunct decorating title Victoria magazine.

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