CK One, the designer's new unisex fragrance, will be available in Tower Records stores as well as 2,200 department stores starting in September. The launch of the latest fragrance from Calvin Klein Cosmetics Co. will get an estimated $19 million in marketing support in its first four months.
The fragrance is the company's first to seriously pursue the 18-to-35-year-old market, thus the decision to add Tower to its distribution plan. The move is said to be the first time a prestige fragrance has been sold in a music chain.
Younger consumers aren't avid department store shoppers, while Tower offers a hip image.
The fragrance will be merchandised in free standing displays at select Tower locations nationally.
Calvin Klein marketing executives are also studying MTV: Music Television's new home shopping show and online services such as Prodigy, but haven't made commitments.
CK One is aimed at men and women, but company executives cringe at the less than sexy label "unisex." Mr. Klein, known for the erotic positioning of such fragrances as Obsession and basics like underwear, has made sex his trademark.
The emphasis with CK One is on sharing. In focus groups, the company found "the thought of sharing a fragrance with a partner was perceived as incredibly sexy," said Jacqueline Reich, head of global public relations for Calvin Klein.
Until now, there have been few unisex fragrances and those that tried have hit with a thud. But women are increasingly buying upscale men's fragrances, like Cosmair's Drakkar Noir, for themselves, said industry consultant Allan Mottus of Mottus & Associates, New York. Mr. Mottus estimated up to 20% of all men's fragrance sales in department stores are to women for their own use.
Combined sales of men's and women's fragrances in department stores total $3 billion. Calvin Klein is one of the largest players with more than $200 million in manufacturer's sales.
Items in the CK One line will be priced from $15 to $50. The fragrance will receive network TV support as well as outdoor ads for the launch, both firsts for the company, said Sheila Hewitt, Calvin Klein Cosmetics VP-global marketing. Outdoor ads will appear in the top 20 markets on buses, bus shelters, outdoor boards and buildings, with all ads handled in-house.
The challenge, Calvin Klein executives say, is to make sure consumers know from the start that CK One is for both sexes. To underscore that message, hangtags will be affixed to trial-size bottles.
Ms. Hewitt said the tags' long-copy message-incorporating such thoughts as "If you like to share ... If you're a man or a woman"-is likely to turn up in some form in the ad campaign, which also includes image and fragrance strip print ads.