Coty rolls out scent

One of the world's top parfumiers is betting there are profits to be had in the mid-price range of the men's fragrance market.Jeffery Wagstaff, general manager of Coty Canada, says the middle of the market has broadened in the 1990s as...

One of the world’s top parfumiers is betting there are profits to be had in the mid-price range of the men’s fragrance market.

Jeffery Wagstaff, general manager of Coty Canada, says the middle of the market has broadened in the 1990s as consumers have simultaneously begun demanding better value and become less status conscious.

It is into this market Coty has launched Universo with a $2-million ad campaign intended to persuade consumers they can buy upmarket fragrances and toiletries at less than premium prices.

Wagstaff says the Universo brand has the look and quality of an exclusive product – but without the hefty price tag.

The Universo product line, which ranges in price between $5 and $35, includes after-shave lotion, shower soap gel and eau de toilette.

The manufacturing is done in Germany, but Universo’s actual smell, the pivot around which all else revolves and which sets it apart from its competitors, was developed in Paris at the venerable House of Coty.

The term ‘men’s fragrance’ can be confusing since it is used to describe a single item such as after-shave or a lineup of products such as Universo.

Cy Wilding, a spokesman for the Canadian Cosmetic, Toiletries and Fragrances Association, says product boundaries have eroded of late since even the humblest ‘utilitarian’ products now have some scent. He predicts further erosion since the best-selling fragrance in the u.s., Calvin Klein’s One, is marketed equally to men and women.

Universo’s press material describes the fragrance as ‘spicy and aromatic with fruity accents of apple, pineapple and melon to create a sparkling freshness.’ It goes on to says the fragrance has scents of ‘geranium, rose, jasmine and a dominant magnolia stroke.’

Wagstaff says Universo is targeted against such upscale brands as Ralph Lauren’s Polo, adding he would like to see it make the top 10 in the category within the next 12 months.

Aldo Del Col, director of sales for Coty, says the March launch of Universo in Canada represents the brand’s second wave. Del Col says the fragrance is already being marketed in Austria, the Netherlands, Germany and Switzerland, and by next year Coty Canada’s parent wants to take the brand global.

Coty Canada is owned by Benckiser, a privately owned German company. Coty Canada’s headquarters are in Montreal.

Del Col says in time Coty Canada intends to leverage the Coty name in support of Universo.

There are 60 to 70 brands of men’s fragrances in Canada. Coty brands have a 30% dollar share of the market.

Print advertising for the new fragrance has already started in such magazines as Images, Toronto Life Fashion, Flare and Elle Quebec.

Wagstaff says the magazines will carry scent strips since sampling is crucial to the product’s success.

Del Col notes it is not unusual for Universo to be advertised in women’s magazines since it is women who make the initial purchase of any new brand of men’s fragrance. However, once the product cycle shifts, advertising will be directed more towards men, he adds.

Beginning March 24 Universo will also be advertised for four weeks at Cineplex Odeon movie theatres across the country, and on March 27 tv advertising starts in eight major markets.

Further advertising includes ‘very heavy’ p-o-s support, says Del Col, and participation – as the only men’s fragrance – in The Bay’s ‘Beauty in the Bay’ spring promotion. As with many fragrances, Universo is offering a gift with the purchase of a certain amount of items.

Wagstaff says much of the current advertising is geared to the run-up to Father’s Day in June, with a new fall campaign planned to start in September and last until Christmas.