Cosmair aims to pump up Cacharel with big Noa push

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Cosmair hopes a new scent, backed by a $35 million ad budget, will re-establish its Cacharel fragrance brand in the U.S.

Called Noa, the scent will reach department stores in March, supported by TV spots, print ads, sampling and outdoor. Cosmair's Designer Fragrances division, which markets Cacharel, will spend the $35 million worldwide on Noa this year, most to support the U.S. launch. It's been 13 years since Cacharel attempted to bring a new perfume brand into the U.S.

The fragrance itself is a sweet, musk-based scent designed to appeal to young women. The line will include fragrance, lotion and body shampoo products, each retailing for $25 to $49.50.

"We think that we have a product here that not only speaks to young women but also will help re-establish the Cacharel brand in the U.S.," said Ed Fox, assistant VP-marketing, European Designer Fragrances.

`NEW VISION'

Two-page inserts with scent strips will break in April issues of fashion and teen magazines including Conde Nast Publications' Allure, Hachette Filipacchi Magazines' Elle, Hearst Magazines' Marie Claire, Primedia's Seventeen and Gruner & Jahr USA Publishing's YM. TV will run on broadcast and cable networks including E! Entertainment Television, MTV and VH1.

Spots, tagged "A fragrance with a new vision," feature a dreamlike street scene with pedestrians moving backward in slow motion, until the brand's spokesmodel emerges to rearrange the scene. Air Agency, Paris, handled creative for the campaign; Publicis, New York, will handle U.S. media for the launch effort.

Although Cosmair won't use gifts-with-purchase to promote the fragrance, it will sell packaged value-price sets during the third-quarter back-to-school season and also in the fourth quarter for the holidays.

Noa is Cosmair's bid to raise Cacharel's profile in the U.S., where it has lagged behind siblings-such as Ralph Lauren and Giorgio Armani fragrances-in Cosmair's Designer Fragrances Group. The group's best known fragrance is Anais Anais, which was launched in 1978; its last U.S. fragrance launch was the now-defunct LouLou 13 years ago.

"We don't have a high level of awareness with Cacharel, and we know this from testing. We don't have the background of an Armani or Ralph [Lauren]," Mr. Fox said.

NO. 1 IN LATIN AMERICA

But even without a famous designer name to help out, Noa scored well in U.S. market testing among its target group of 18-to-35-year-old women, and the fragrance has performed well abroad since its European launch in October 1998, he added. It is currently among the top five sellers in Europe and the top fragrance in Latin America, Mr. Fox said.

"There's no halo effect with Cacharel; we're in uncharted waters with Noa," Mr. Fox said. "We go into this on the strength of our fragrance, the packaging and the ability of our merchandising team."

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