American Marketer


Valentino piques interest for new fragrance before debut

September 10, 2013


Italian label Valentino is increasing the anticipation for its latest men’s fragrance by launching the campaign at the 70th Annual Venice International Film Festival long before the fragrance is set to be released.

The labels use of the Venice International Film Festival Ball as a campaign launch last week was ideal, as it showcases brand DNA, and with many celebrities in attendance, was a buzz-worthy event from the get-go. An attention-getting event will likely help the brand gain exposure for the new fragrance, Uomo.

"The concept of increasing interest far before products are released provides an opportunity to create a stronger buildup for consumer demand, said Dalia Strum, professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology and founder of Dalia Inc., New York.

"This also allows brands an opportunity to create stronger marketing strategies utilizing in person, print and text over a longer period of time to create momentum instead of a quick hit, she said.

"The longevity of this strategy allows their audience to build up the desire to follow the marketing releases as well as become stronger advocates of the brand, and their collection."

Ms. Strum is not affiliated with Valentino, but agreed to comment as an industry expert.

Valentino was unable to comment before press deadline.

At the ball
Last week, Valentino’s creative directors Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli hosted the first Venice International Film Festival's annual ball, Ballo Volpi, since the 1980s.

The Ballo Volpi was first held in 1932 by festival founder, Count Giuseppe Volpi di Misurata at his home, Palazzo Volpi in Venice.

Palazzo Volpi ballroom

The ball celebrated not only the 70th anniversary of the film festival, but also Valentino’s latest fragrance, Uomo.

Valentino worked with Spanish fragrancer Puig to create a fragrance meant to symbolize the brand’s fashions.

Ingredients used by perfumer Olivier Polge, who created Uomo, include spicy bergamot, myrtle, roasted coffee, gianduja cream, white leather and cedar to create a rich and woody scent.

Uomo’s bottle is a studded crystal bottle with a simple gold plaque reading Valentino.

Valentino has set in motion an extensive ad campaign for its latest fragrance with French actor Louis Garrel as brand ambassador who will star in commercials and print advertisements for the fragrance.

Brand ambassador Louis Garrel

The brand chose to celebrate the Uomo fragrance during the brand-hosted ball as a way to display its elegance. The fragrance’s launch event is likely to generate interest in the fragrance way ahead of its actual debut.

Uomo will be available for purchase in Europe, Russia and the Middle East by early 2014, in the spring for Asian consumers and at the end of the year or even beginning of 2015 for Latin and North America, per WWD.

Valentino is displaying photographs from its Venice International Film Festival ball on its Facebook page.

Many of the guests including actresses Diane Kruger and Keira Knightley wore Valentino gowns to the event held along the Venice canals at the Palazzo Volpi.

Actress Keira Knightly with husband, musician James Righton

Although the social media post displays the ball, there is no mention of the Uomo fragrance as of yet.

By displaying its upcoming fragrance in such a grand fashion, Uomo is likely to attract the attention of brand enthusiasts who will be eager to see more from the campaign starring Mr. Garrel up until the fragrance’s release.

Get the party started
Valentino is not alone in choosing the Venice International Film Festival as a viable platform for its products.

For example, Swiss watchmaker Jaeger-LeCoultre is targeting timepiece enthusiasts and film lovers through its partnership with the Venice Film Festival where the brand will present its Jubilee timepiece collection and a filmmaker award.

The timepiece brand returns to the Venice Film Festival, Aug. 28-Sept.7, for its ninth consecutive year as it celebrates its 180th anniversary. Brands that incorporate anniversaries with larger events can attract brand enthusiasts through programming and special products (see story).

Sporting events are also an ideal platform to display brand image and DNA.

For instance, Ralph Lauren, Tiffany & Co. and other brands are reaffirming their luxury status as sponsors of the 2013 United States Open tennis championships Aug. 26 – Sept. 9.

This year’s US Open held at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, NY, drew many big name tennis stars and big name luxury brands. Although not all of the attendees are the brands’ target audience, sponsoring a large event of an upscale sport can help marketers boost their exposure and luxury standing (see story).

When partnering with an event, brands should keep in mind the lifestyle of its target consumers.

"The Venice International Film Festival was a strong platform to celebrate the new fragrance because it's extremely important to connect and reach the direct target market during relevant events and align with their consumers interests, Ms. Strum said.

"This approach was a strong strategy, because consumers don't connect with a fragrance, they connect with a lifestyle," she said.


Final Take
Jen King, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York