Candie's new fragrance gets $20 mil campaign

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Candie's unveils its signature fragrance and toiletries this summer, with a $20 million marketing campaign designed to drive teens into the department store.

TV commercials featuring actress Alyssa Milano will break in late August, with print to debut in September issues of Details, Rolling Stone, Vogue and YM. The line is aimed at 12-to-24-year-olds.

Liz Claiborne Cosmetics will handle the launch, under a licensing agreement with the apparel company. InMarketing, Glen Cove, N.Y., Candie's agency, is doing advertising.

Neil Katz, president of Liz Claiborne Cosmetics, admitted that getting teens into department stores will take some work.


Teens, infamous for "hanging out at the mall," have typically shunned the large anchor stores. A study from Teenage Research Unlimited found teens visit the mall five times a month on average but they only walk into a department store three times in that same period.

Department stores "have young people 100 yards away," Mr. Katz said. "They're in the mall, but they're not there. They need something special to bring them in."

That something will be advertising, promotions and giveaways, the executive said.

The marketer will encourage sampling with temporary tattoos that release the Candie's fragrance. In addition, Claiborne said it is in negotiations with a musical group to stage tie-ins including a contest for concert tickets, co-sponsored by local department stores.

The Candie's launch could be a much-needed boost for department-store fragrance sales, which were stagnant in 1998. According to NPD Group, sales of prestige fragrances--sold mainly in department stores--were up just 1% last year, to $2.9 billion. Only a holiday sales surge saved the year from being a downer.

"If you go to a department store today, there isn't a young fragrance. . . . Department stores desperately want them," said Neil Cole, CEO of Candie's.

Mr. Katz noted, for example, that the most recent Generation Y fragrance in the prestige segment, Calvin Klein's CKbe, is being marketed in alternative venues, such as Tower Records stores.


Contrary to the conventional wisdom that teens don't wear traditional forms of fragrance, the 12-to-24 market can be plumbed, Mr. Katz said. He cited Claiborne research that indicates youths spend $708 million annually in fragrances for themselves and give another $400 million worth as gifts every year.

But in a nod to conventional wisdom, the Candie's line will be introduced with a variety of fragrance products, including a body mist--a popular item with teens--as well as soaps, lotions and massage oil.

Products will start at about $35 at retail, to place them closer to teens' spending limits, Mr. Katz said.


The Candie's name will go a long way toward attracting teen-agers, the executive said. The brand had been a staple in disco fashion in the 1970s and re-emerged in the '90s, thanks to colorful new designs and irreverent advertising.

The fragrances are part of an expansion plan at Candie's, Mr. Cole said.

The marketer last year acquired the Bongo jeans brand, and has additional licensing deals--for sunglasses and socks.

Copyright April 1999, Crain Communications Inc.

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