Fragrance Packaging Takes Center Stage

Whether reinventing the classics, emphasizing the star quality, appealing to the masses or playing up the portability aspect, today’s fragrance spotlight beams brightly on the packaging.

In a fragrance market that has suffered of late due to a weakened economy and altered consumer spending, conditions may finally be on the mend. According to Karen Grant, vice president, NPD Beauty—and a member of Beauty Packaging’s Board of Advisors—early indications (at press time) are that 2010 may turn out to be a positive year or, at least better, less negative, than the prior one.Grant says,“Right now we’re seeing a leveling of the market; in May, for the first time in almost two years, there was a positive trend.”

In the new “flat is up” perspective, leveling off is a hopeful sign after the market ended 10% down in 2009. Even with that end-of-year decline, though, Grant says there was a positive performance recorded for the last holiday season. What December 2010 will bring, of course, remains to be seen, but packaging designers and suppliers continue to push the limits, trying to ensure that the latest fragrance launches wind up on holiday gift lists.

Grant acknowledges that packaging plays a key role in engaging consumers, giving them a reason to purchase. For instance, she points out that packaging “that’s a little more overt has made a positive impact.” She references the top three launches in 2009 based on December sales: Juicy Couture’s Couture Couture and Marc Jacobs Lola, both of which were whimsical, and Ed Hardy Hearts & Daggers, which strayed far from the traditional flacon.

Ed Hardy Hearts & Daggers fragrance made the top three cut in 2009.
Scott Oshry, Maesa Studio’s president of branding and design, concurs with Grant, saying, “Packaging is still the number one concern for marketability and a value proposition. Every day we explore more unique ways to diecut, emboss, mold, print and blow glass to continue to create highly unique primary and secondary packages that help give the consumer a reason to purchase another fragrance.”

Small Signs of Recovery

Grant also attributes a portion of the market comeback to smaller sizes, as sales of 1oz. and smaller units have grown—and shown a greater impact. She says, “Rollerballs from established brands to niche brands have been broad in reach—engaging young consumers. A combo of small, portable packaging and functionality (no spill) makes a difference.”

Airline restrictions and on-the-go lifestyles have also generated additional fragrance forms, which have proved especially popular with the youth market. Grant notes that jewelry options, such as rings, necklaces and novelty pieces, offer a fun way to get consumers to take fragrance along with them.

Oshry, too, notes the trend toward portable options. “In these new times,” he says, “we are seeing a lot of smaller sizes being requested like 30ml, 15ml and a big need for 7.5ml.” He notes that rollerballs are in such high demand, “we can’t keep them in stock.”

According to Jen Brady at Brad-Pak Enterprises, the rollerball continues to grow in popularity in the fine fragrance market as it offers portability and an attractive price point—“attributes today’s consumers appreciate.” Brady says, “Companies can zero in on the caps to differentiate their fragrances and rely on high-end decoration techniques, frosting and labeling to translate their brand message to these smaller size units.”

Rolling Along on Trend

One niche fragrance brand that has succeeded in extending its line with rollerballs is Diptyque, which recently launched its four colognes in a new roll-on packaging design.

Diptyque recently launched its four colognes in a new roll-on packaging design.
Myriam Badualt, director of marketing and communications for the French brand, recognized for its elegant, black-and-white graphics, says, “The idea was to propose a new form for the cologne collection, in a travel size, and a new way to discover or rediscover the fresh fragrances, particularly appropriate for the summer period.The challenge was then to define the texture of the formula, finding [a way] to easily apply the perfumed formula on the skin and guarantee the packaging would be waterproof.” A gel form was developed, which rolls onto the skin from a metal ball that intensifies the fresh nature of the cologne.

The roll-on is a glass bottle with a black silkscreen excerpt of the illustration on the corresponding cologne bottle, topped with a black cap. Each roll-on is sold with a black suede pouch marked with the name of the brand. Last year, the firm expanded into solids as well. The solid fragrance comes in a small, black, oval-shaped palette with raised writing, in an attractive, black, travel-size case. “This different form of the fragrance is a romantic reminder to the tradition of perfume,” says Badualt.

Taking a Chance on Fragrance

In addition to size, Grant notes that new introductions are also helping to steer the market upward. She cites the joint success of combos with great juice and packaging, adding that juices that extend beyond traditional florals indicate a shift in olfactive roles.

Grant points to Chanel’s Chance Eau Tendre as a launch that has created new interest this year, hitting the mark for both fragrance and packaging.

Chance’s packaging beauty lies in the attention to the subtle details that create its simplistic elegance.
Chance Eau Tendre is the third fragrance in the Chance brand following the original Chance and Chance Eau Fraiche. All three flacons utilize the same circular design, which from its inception, was a major departure from the luxury brand’s iconic square bottle.

Scott Widro, vice president of manufacturing and materials management, Chanel—and a member of Beauty Packaging’s Board of Advisors—says that as with all Chanel designs, they are simple and elegant with an eye toward symmetry aimed at making them a classic.

“In the case of Chance,” says Widro, “the only word that describes the packaging is subtlety.” The design is the same, but the color changes of the folding carton and bottle decoration accent the light pink hue of the fragrance. He says the natural fit of the metal band and the pearlescence of the liner matching the pearlescence of the folding carton continue this subtle theme. “Subtlety is consistent across all three fragrances,” says Widro. “It is a true marriage of package design with product development highlighting the real star—the fragrance.” The delicate, youthful, fruity scent, with a trace of jasmine absolute and a veil of white musk, was created by Chanel master perfumer Jacques Polge.

Widro points to the metal band surrounding the glass bottle as the innovative packaging feature. “It fits so naturally around the circular design and is adhered to the bottle without the use of adhesive,” he explains. “The bottom metal plaque is stamped with all necessary legal copy and acts as the bottom label. A frosted Surlyn cap adorns the package allowing you to see the actuator and collar.”

Chance’s packaging beauty, says Widro, “lies in the attention to the subtle details that create its simplistic elegance.” The decoration of the glass with the words Chance and Chanel are both six letters and are in perfect registration. The folding carton is made from a specifically designed Chanel board stock with a liner that is scored to pivot upward providing maximum protection for the cap.
The bottle for Chance eau Tendre was supplied by Bormioli Luigi and Pochet; pump/actuator by Calmar; metal collar by Lisi Cosmetics; Surlyn cap by SAF; liner by Nicollet; and folding carton, by Ch. Wauters.

Addicted to Fragrance

Yves Saint Laurent’s Belle d’Opium, from L’Oréal, is another brand extension that’s injecting excitement this fall as a new generation of consumers swoons to its addictive aroma.

Industry analyst Carrie Lennard of global research firm Euromonitor (please see more from Lennard at says brand extensions have proved advantageous. She explains, “As consumers opted to cut their spending on fragrances, many manufacturers have nervously chosen lower risk strategies for new product innovations. Brand extensions formed many of the new launches in 2009 and continue to do so in 2010. They remain a popular way for manufacturers to introduce new fragrances with less risk and marketing expense than to launch a totally new brand.”

Brand extensions also provide the opportunity for diversification. “Companies are trying to make their product ranges appeal to a broader range of consumers, in order to drive sales,” says Lennard, “such as Gucci’s strategy to target different consumer age group segments.”

The original Opium fragrance, which launched in 1977, elicited consumer frenzy. Today’s young crowd is drawn to the modern floral oriental fragrance via seductive, French actress Melanie Thierry who stars in the current campaign.

Perfumer Honorine Blanc describes the fragrance, saying, “This perfume, which I am very attached to, represents for me a new sensuality, feminine and mysterious. The smooth tension between the noble base elements and the sparkling femininity of the opening reinforce addiction and the trail of scent. This perfume is a symbol of luxury, desire and modernity.”

The revitalized package for Opium, which was developed in Europe, and exported to the U.S. and worldwide, required much more than a simple update.

The launch of Belle d’Opium faced many challenges packaging-wise.
“Belle d’Opium is the result of a lot of challenges, packaging-wise, resulting in several months of intensive work,” says Martial Touze, packaging engineer in charge of the project. “Based on the existing packaging of Opium, it contains a new fragrance and the design has been adapted (color of the glass and design of the cardboard box). Technical challenges were about all the flat shoulders, the red overtube and the gold decoration. The difficulty concerning the gold ring was mainly about the printing process: The anamorphic effect on the tampo-print stamp was mandatory to obtain the impression of a real gold ring with the complete illusion of depth.”

According to Philippe Bonningue, L’Oréal’s vice-president of North America corporate development and packaging—and a member of Beauty Packaging’s Board of Advisors, “The international packaging team succeeded tremendously in giving to the packaging the new 21st century twist that this famous and very demanding brand wanted, in developing the specific look, visual, aesthetic and touch through the decorated glass and pump developments.”

Celebrity Appeal

Contrary to naysayers’ opinions on the future of celebrity brands, Euromonitor’s Lennard says the celebrity fragrance trend is still key for the fragrance industry, but appears to be at different stages in different parts of the world. She says it shows no sign of abating in some key markets like the UK, but appears to have peaked and now be on the wane in the U.S. In the Middle East however, the celebrity trend is currently gaining momentum.

In some cases, competition is hot for celebrity endorsements. Both Salvatore Ferragamo and Paco Rabanne have rallied to sign Ernest Hemingway’s great-granddaughter, Dree Hemingway for their fall launches, both multimedia extravaganzas. Ferragamo has announced the launch of its new signature women’s fragrance, Attimo, which translates to “a moment,” while Paco Rabanne premiers Lady Million, the brand’s first floral fragrance.

While somewhat riskier than brand extensions, many fragrance manufacturers continue to find success with faces from the entertainment world, and this fall, a number of launches stand primed for unprecedented success.

Capturing the Magic: Jennifer Lopez’s Love and Glamour

An up-close look at the inspiration, packaging, scent and ad behind the new fragrance.

The inspiration for Love and Glamour, by Jennifer Lopez, is Jennifer herself. She thinks all women want to feel like a star—beautiful, confident, and glamorous. We wanted to capture just that—the dream of love, the allure of beauty and the power of glamour—and the amazing confidence that comes with that.

When selecting the name, Jennifer wanted to choose an inspiring name that women could really relate to. Love and Glamour reflects the passion, the hard work and the benefits of being a woman who wants it all.Everyone wants love and glamour in their life. Those are two things you can never have enough of!

The bottle is sculptural and beautiful—inspired by the confident, voluptuous physique of a woman.The cap looks like a precious jewel.The colors are striking gold and delicate pink, a feminine and distinctive contrast. The glass is decorated with a golden thermolustrage, which gives the bottle a slightly iridescent look. We wanted to create a bottle that’s more than pretty, one that also stands out and is unique.The carton design has a star imprint and is surrounded by gorgeous “star-dust” for a little extra bling.

The fragrance is fresh, sophisticated and show-stopping. It is a sexy scent in an elegant way; to me it is pure love and glamour.

The signature top notes are refreshing citrus, guava and succulent nectarine.At the heart is a sexy orchid and beautiful water lily. The base of the fragrance has creamy musks and sandalwood, which is one of my favorite scents—sandalwood is very luxurious and sensual without being overwhelming—I actually have tons of sandalwood candles in my house and I really love that special aura they create.

We shot the advertising in L.A. with Craig McDean on an actual movie set. We were inspired by films, photos, and movie posters of the ’40s, which were full of passion, emotion and drama. I wanted to capture the magic of the moment of every woman’s most beautiful close-up.
Jennifer Lopez holds the distinction of being “queen” of celebrity fragrance, and this October, teams once again with Coty on the latest launch in her portfolio, appropriately named Love and Glamour, and housed in top form in a bottle akin to the star’s own curvy figure draped in a Grecian-style gown. (For details on Love and Glamour, and how it was developed, please see sidebar (below) written by Jon Dinapoli, creative director, Coty Prestige.

Love and Glamour will premier at Macy’s in October, followed by a mid-November rollout to HSN and wider department store distribution. Industry experts predict it is destined for great success.

Perhaps no one could have foreseen the magnitude of success that HSN recently brought to fragrance with the release of Mary J. Blige’s new My Life perfume, produced by Carol’s Daughter. The scent made HSN history when an astonishing 50,000 units (at $55 each] were snatched up in one day, even though the scent was not yet available in stores. The resounding success made it HSN’s fastest selling and most popular fragrance to date, and underscored the enormity of the star’s emotional connection with her countless fans.

Not only did My Life achieve record-breaking unit sales, it also grossed an estimated $2.7 million dollars. A portion of the proceeds ($1 per bottle) went to Blige’s organization FFAWN (Foundation for the Advancement of Women Now), netting $50,000 for the non-profit.

Designed by Chad Lavigne, and produced turnkey by Maesa Group, the heart-shaped bottle is described as an ode to the intense love Mary shares with her fans, as a woman who wears her heart on her sleeve. The custom glass bottle is hot stamped, and crowned with a custom Zamac cap. The line includes a stock glass rollerball version, which is vacuum metallized opaque shiny gold. A shower cream and body lotion duo is presented in heart-enhanced stock tubes, which are hot stamped and silk screened. The coordinating Mylar folding carton plays up a silk-screened decoration and a hot stamped logo.

My Life is Mary J. Blige’s first signature scent with the Carol’s Daughter beauty line, a project that grew out of two years’ collaboration with her friend and business partner Lisa Price of Carol’s Daughter. The singer says the fragrance, which took her seven months to create, is “a reflection of her personality,” and is for women “who love tuberose, jasmine [and] fruit.”

Fresh Inc., at LVMH Perfumes & Cosmetics North America,joined forces with Sony Pictures to launch a fragrance collection inspired by Julia Robert’s new movie, "Eat, Pray, Love."
Mass Market Appeal

While Mary J. Blige’s empassioned followers—along with a vast multimedia marketing campaign—contributed to the overwhelming success of her prestige launch, sales of other up-market fragrances have declined along with the economy, causing many consumers to cut back while encouraging some brands to offer less expensive options.

According to Euromonitor’s Lennard, “As a non-essential category of the beauty industry, the recession hit the global fragrance industry hard. Poor performances in key Western markets dragged down global fragrance growth in 2008-9 as many consumers cut back altogether on fragrance purchase.” Despite an increasingly saturated market, Lennard says consumer apathy seems to be growing in many markets, with world growth declining over 2007-8—even before the recession took hold.

Now, Lennard says, “Mass scents are outperforming premium; this is predominantly driven by key emerging regions such as Latin America, where scents are almost exclusively mass and are seeing strong growth in fragrance. Premium fragrances are favored in mature Western regions like Western Europe and North America and as growth is flat or even negative in the regions…mass scents increased their share globally in 2009.”

Recently Maesa Studios took up the mass challenge—designing both primary and secondary packaging for a fragrance that would retail for just $15 a bottle.

Oshry, of Maesa Studios, explains, “We created a fragrance to go along with our new cosmetic line for Icing called Flaunt Beauty. The fragrance had a few hurdles we needed to overcome, the first being price point and creating a fragrance that has a high-perceived value for a $15 retail price. The second was how to merchandise a fragrance in a folding carton and still have the consumer see the product, as the store will not use testers.”

For the primary packaging, Oshry says they were able to mold a heavy-wall glass bottle accompanied by a molded clear cap, which allows the metal of the atomizer to show through. “This gives the bottle a very high perceived value and the appearance of a cap lined in gold,” says Oshry. “Along with the cap treatment,” he says, “we added a silk screen logo on the bottle to tie into the gold, lined cap.”

Oshry acknowledges that the box was a more difficult problem, but one “we feel we solved.” He says, “We took a standard folding carton and created a diecut which started on the front and wrapped to the top of the box. This allows the consumer to see not only the front of the bottle but the top of the cap as well, which is really the hero of the fragrance. The bottle is secured inside of the folding carton with a clear vacuum form, therefore a liner is not needed. The two pieces together retail beautifully and for a $15 fragrance, the product has a high perceived value and is very giftable to oneself or to another.”

Worthy of a Gift

Giftable value is key as launches continue to roll out for the potentially lucrative back-to-school and holiday seasons. Sales will provide the fragrance industry with a good idea of how things will fall into place for 2011.

Whether scents offer celebrity appeal, portability, brand allure, or prestige or mass price points, brands would be wise to keep in mind Oshry’s response when asked what his clients’ No. 1 concern is regarding packaging:“That it looks great on the shelf,” he replied without hesitation.