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By Published on .

Procter & Gamble Co. will reduce its mass-market fragrance brands to just one-Old Spice-but maintain a kind of mass presence by licensing TV shows it produces for fragrances and other products.

P&G last week announced it is seeking a buyer for such brands as Navy, Navy for Men, Jaclyn Smith's California, Incognito and Le Jardin. All are handled by Lotas Minard Patton McIver, New York, with combined spending of less than $4 million in 1995, according to Competitive Media Reporting.

"Mass fragrances make up a relatively small business for us," said P&G Chief Operating Officer Durk Jager. "Strategically, we want to focus our resources on building cosmetics, with Cover Girl and Max Factor, and our fine fragrances, through our Giorgio, Hugo Boss and Laura Biagiotti brands."

P&G executives said the company is just now starting to shop the brands, though industry executives maintain it has been doing so for months (AA, April 29).


P&G's mass-market women's fragrance sales were down 24.8% to $29.3 million for the 52 weeks ended May 26, for a 3.8% market share, according to Information Resources Inc.

But P&G may keep its hand in mass-market fragrances by following a trend toward licensing brands based on popular TV shows. The company last week named New York-based LHH&F as licensing agent for P&G Productions' daytime soap operas: "As the World Turns," "Guiding Light" and "Another World."

LHH&F President Bob Launey said fragrances are possible.

The mass-market pullout, however, could signal a larger withdrawal by P&G.

"I think the stage is now set for a complete re-evaluation of its position in mass-market color [cosmetics] and fine fragrances," said PaineWebber analyst Andrew Shore.

Germany's Joh. A. Benckiser, rumored to be interested in P&G's beauty brands, owns Coty, the largest marketer of mass fragrances in the U.S. with more than 30% of the $767.6 million women's mass- market fragrance category.

Like other mass-market brands, P&G's mass fragrance sales have been battered by competition from a number of products, including more prestigious, higher-price brands, knockoffs and a new batch of fragrances named for popular TV shows.

Tree Tops is introducing Baywatch Woman and Baywatch Man, with a $4 million budget handled by Cason Nightengale, New York, starting in September.


And Columbia TriStar TV's "Young & the Restless," the No. 1 daytime soap, is also moving into cosmetics. The show, set in the fictitious Jabot Cosmetic Co., will soon make Jabot a reality with a line of Jabot cosmetics marketed by Direct Access Group.

"We plan on going to the CBS affiliates that carry the show and barter a 30-second or 60-second spot during the show to launch the line," said Rick Korn, president of Direct Access.

The items will be hawked during the spots, and stations will get a percentage of any items sold in their area.

Jabot will be manufactured by Celeb Cosmetics, also bidding on rights to a scent and cosmetics tied to "Clueless," the sitcom premiering on ABC this fall and co-owned by Paramount-and P&G.

Contributing: Michael Wilke.

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