Launching this week: Coty banks on scent of Celine

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Chrysler's tried it. Now it's Coty's turn.

In an effort to capture more market share in an industry with declining sales, Coty Beauty, a division of New York-based Coty, has teamed up with Canadian songstress Celine Dion to create Celine Dion Parfums, a collection of eau de toilette, body lotion and shower gel. The products go on sale March 25, at the same time Ms. Dion's Las Vegas extravaganza, "Celion Dion: A New Day," makes its debut and her latest CD, "One Heart," appears on store shelves.

To market Celine Dion Parfums, Coty Beauty is drawing on as many communication avenues as possible, from traditional advertising to more unique guerilla-marketing efforts. Print ads created by Badger Kry & Partners, New York, break in May magazines; TV spots will air in November, in time for holiday shopping. Coty Beauty, a co-sponsor with DaimlerChrysler's Chrysler of Ms. Dion's "A New Day" show, has set up scent machines at the show's venue, the Coliseum. (Chrysler is also using Ms. Dion in its latest ad campaign.) Consumers who purchase any Celine Dion Parfums product over $32 receive a free greatest-hits CD at the product launch, and tucked into the packaging of "One Heart" are Celion Dion Parfums scent strips.

`she is a lifestyle'

Tying a new scent with a celebrity worked for Coty Beauty sibling Lancaster Group, Coty's prestige division, which last year introduced Glow by Jennifer Lopez. The scent was one of 2002's most successful launches, landing in the top 20 women's fragrances of last year, according to NPD Beauty, a division of market-research firm NPD Group. Celebrity connections are particularly attractive now, as fragrance sales in U.S. department stores declined 3.5% last year to $2.8 billion, vs. 2001, according to NPD. The Celine products launch in mid-tier outlets like Sears, Roebuck & Co., J.C. Penney and Kohl's and move into the mass market shortly after.

"J.Lo was a success because her image is so pervasive. She is more than music, she is a lifestyle," said a fragrance-industry consultant who asked to remain anonymous. "Celine Dion doesn't have the same fervor. But she is a very entertaining singer. Remains to be seen how many women want to be Celine Dion."

But Coty Beauty President Eric Thoreux saw in Ms. Dion the perfect match for a category niche he aims to fill. "We've got Adidas, Stetson, Jovan-athletic, sport, sexy-but we felt we missed a romantic fragrance. And Celine is the ultimate romantic person," he said. "But it's not sugary romantic."

Using notes of violets, jasmine and musk, the fragrance combines "the scent of flowers and the Canadian forest that Celine loves," he said.

Ms. Dion's 15,000-member international fan club, TeamCeline-described by Mr. Thoreux as "the best-viral marketing team you can think of"-also has a role in marketing. Members will receive a scented necklace that sports a five-yen coin, considered a lucky charm by Ms. Dion.

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