Avon To Debut Reese Witherspoon Fragrance

Reese Witherspoon Avon says it will introduce a new fragrance, In Bloom, this fall -- a scent developed in partnership with actress Reese Witherspoon. The launch -- which will include TV ads, double-spreads in Avon brochures, and up to 1 million samples, reports Women's Wear Daily -- is said to be the company's biggest fragrance initiative of the year, and its first-ever global scent linked to a celebrity.

In a release, the actress says the scent -- a floral, oriental, woody blend, based on gardenia, magnolia, jasmine, and Georgia Peach tea leaves -- draws on favorite scents from her Southern childhood, and that it also captures the life stage she's in now. "In Bloom is indicative of where I am in my life today. I'm feeling very strong and independent, and so happy," she says.

The launch will include a limited-edition parfum in a gift box, with a bottle charm of Witherspoon's monogram, for $59. Eau de Parfum will sell for $34, while the rest of the collection -- body mist, body lotion and shower gel -- costs $15.



The launch comes at an important time, with sales of beauty products -- once said to be recession-proof -- on the decline. Sales of women's fragrances fell 5% from 2007 to 2008, and men's sank 8%, according to a joint report from NPD Group and Information Resources Inc. (Those numbers are based both on prestige products, sold in department stores, as well as those in food, drug and mass channels.) But there's also evidence that even as consumers cut back, they are also switching their usual channels for beauty purchases, buying more online and from TV shopping networks.

So far, it isn't clear whether Avon's distinct direct-selling model will benefit from that channel changing. Several weeks ago, the company reported that while fragrance sales fell 10% for the first quarter on a reported basis, they actually gained 9% in local currency.

Avon has relied heavily on Witherspoon, an Academy Award winner and Hollywood favorite, since tapping her as its first brand ambassador back in 2007. In addition to appearing in many of its ads, the actress also makes frequent appearances in support of Avon's charitable initiatives, including its efforts to end domestic violence.

Avon's other women's fragrances have included launches like Bond Girl 007 and collaborations with such designers as Ungaro, Cynthia Rowley, and Christian Lacroix. And in addition to men's scents by Ungaro and Lacroix, it also has celebrity fragrances from Yankee Derek Jeter and actor Patrick Dempsey.

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