Aveda sniffs opportunity with new perfume launch

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The Estee Lauder Companies' Aveda brand expands its aroma offerings with the April launch of Desert Pure-Fumes, inspired by the desert blooms El Ni¤o helped beget in 1998.

Traditionally a hair care-focused brand, the 23-year-old company plans to invest several million dollars in its largest-ever fragrance launch, with print spreads in May issues of Conde Nast Publications' Glamour, Allure and Vogue, as well as Hearst Magazines' Cosmopolitan and Marie Claire. Three-page ads complete with scent strips also will drop in AOL Time Warner's Health, Hearst's O, The Oprah Magazine and Conde Nast's Self. All ad creative and placement is done in-house.

Like Aveda's other products, the trio of scents-Dune Primrose, Sand Verbena and Joshua Tree-is created using only natural oils and aromas. In a departure from the muted colors of previous product packaging, Desert Pure-Fumes' bottles feature icons in citrus orange, hot pink and bright green hues. The perfumes retail for $20 and $46, depending on size.

The company hopes to reap benefits from its larger investment in fragrance. "Current aroma business is less than 5% of [Aveda's] overall volume," said Daria Myers, senior VP-global marketing. "With Desert Pure-Fumes, we hope to grow it to 10% by the end of this year."

Estee Lauder does not break out sales for Aveda, purchased in 1997 for $300 million in cash to boost the parent company's position as a diversified global presence in cosmetics. Estee Lauder's strong performance in the hair care category ($43 million in sales for second quarter 2000, up 44% over same period 1999) is largely attributed to the continued growth of Aveda products. During Aveda's April 2001 Earth Month promotional efforts, the company will offer special edition Desert Pure-Fume aroma cards and vials, boxed note cards and Earth Month T-shirts. The proceeds from all retail promotions will be donated to support non-profit environmental groups around the country, including the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and New York/New Jersey Baykeeper. Aveda Concept salons also will donate a percentage of service proceeds from "Appointments for the Earth" to these charities.

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