THE MARKETING 100;SHEILA HEWITT;CK ONE

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If CK One had been a CD, it would have been the third-best seller last Christmas. That's what the folks at Tower Records, where the fragrance brand was sold in addition to department stores, told Sheila Hewitt.

Ms. Hewitt, Calvin Klein Cosmetics VP-global marketing and advertising, led the team that made CK One the hit fragrance introduction of 1994. CK One stayed atop the fragrance charts because the brand concept itself is innovative, aimed at both young males and females.

"Calvin Klein is always on the cutting edge of what trend is next," says Ms. Hewitt. "So we thought, why not one fragrance for both men and women?"

But the main reason for the raging success of the unisex scent was its unusually innovative marketing techniques, including selling in 80 Tower Records stores.

The approach to the launch under then Calvin Klein Cosmetics President Kim Delsing was "a no-rules strategy," Ms. Hewitt explains. "Everything from the type of fragrance to how we distributed it, how we marketed, sampled, advertised it, packaging, everything, had to have a modern innovative approach."

And so CK One was born: a fragrance so light, so transparent that it could only be smelled by intimates. The packaging was different: It was ecologically correct but inspired by a rum bottle. Even more of a switch for Calvin Klein Cosmetics was the much lower starting price for CK One-only $35 for 3.4 oz. That's about 10% less than the company's other fragrances.

The media approach also was untraditional. As part of an internally produced $18 million marketing introduction last fall, network TV was used for the first time and Klein augmented its usual list of print magazines with books such as Wired and Vibe, another first. And "we took the kids to the streets," Ms. Hewitt says, "using billboards, buses and wild postings."

At last count, industry executives estimate CK One had racked up $65 million in sales, putting it in the same company as some of the top-selling U.S. fragrances.

Now Ms. Hewitt and friends are out to take the brand on a world tour. Convinced CK One could become No. 1 in the world, next month Calvin Klein begins a global rollout in more than 40 markets.

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