Coty sends Calgon to Frierson for makeover

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Calgon has been taken away -- to a new agency.

Coty Inc. moved its 40-year-old bath products line to Frierson Mee & Kraft, New York, which will develop a more modern look for the brand. Frierson is shooting outdoor and print ads for Calgon -- slated to break in November magazines -- and may create TV spots later, said John Frierson, the agency's president.

In spite of the changes, Coty will keep Calgon's longtime tagline "Calgon, take me away." The slogan has great brand equity, said Douglas Toews, exec VP, ideas and image.

"We're not walking away from `Take me away.' It's so much a part of the brand, it's almost the name," said Mr. Frierson. "We're updating the look and emotional impact . . . It still has emotional resonance. It just needs a more modern and stylish approach."


An in-house team recently created new packaging for Calgon's powders and home fragrance products, said Mr. Toews. But the last image repositioning for the brand came in 1997, when Calgon introduced its Body Spray fragrances. Coty spent $8 million in U.S. media for the Calgon brand in 1999, according to Competitive Media Reporting.

Calgon is one of several products getting a face lift as Coty tries for a more upscale image. The company recently completed a revamp of its corporate look -- including a redesigned Web site and collateral materials -- and is undergoing a review of its product lines to focus on global brands. Coty dominates the $1.1 billion U.S. mass-market fragrance segment, thanks to brands such as Calgon, the Healing Garden and Jovan.

The image overhaul is part of Coty's efforts to show how it has changed since it was spun off into an independent holding company in 1996 by its parent, the German household products conglomerate Jos. A. Benckiser GmbH, now Reckitt Benckiser (AA, Dec. 6, 1999).

Margeotes/Fertitta & Partners, New York, had handled the Calgon account since 1992. Mr. Toews said Coty's marketers were happy with Margeotes' work, but wanted to change the brand's look. Coty executives were impressed with Frierson's work for last fall's launch of Adidas Moves fragrance for men, he said. The $30 million global campaign for the licensed product included a high-energy TV and print campaign that pushed an active, sporty lifestyle angle.


Coty will launch a women's version of the scent in September, called Adidas Moves for Her, backed by advertising from Frierson breaking in October magazines. The campaign will use the same sports-oriented positioning as the men's ads, featuring women at play in various sports, and will also reuse the men's tagline, "For all the ways you play."

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