As a result, Avon went all out to launch a full line of Women of Earth toiletries in 135 countries and through all 3 million "Avon ladies" worldwide.
The concept for what would become Women of Earth was already in motion when Mr. Sklar, 39, joined Avon in 1997.
It was "a very democratic approach" to satisfy all women globally, he says. It's part of Avon's strategy to concentrate on global brands and globalize marketing by getting executives from around the world involved.
Avon's research found a strong sense of female identity among women from different cultures, a "shared spirit" the company decided to tap, says Mr. Sklar. From the fragrance itself to its name and packaging, Women of Earth was designed by global teams for global appeal.
The fragrance was launched in Avon catalogs on "Women of Earth store" pages, a concept that included bath and body products, candles, lipsticks, jewelry and even a CD with music by female performers.
In addition, scented ad pages were part of an expanded sampling effort created by N.W. Ayer & Partners, New York.
Thinking big paid off. The Women of Earth line racked up $54 million in sales between its launch and the end of 1998.
The effort will become the template for Avon's product launches in the future, says Mr. Sklar. Avon has another large-scale fragrance in the hopper for the fourth quarter of 1999, which will borrow from all the lessons learned on Women