MyBurberry Smells Like Social Media

Parts of the long-awaited launch of MyBurberry fragrance are predictable, including the pairing of British supermodels Cara Delevingne and Kate Moss. (The duo were announced a few months ago, and naked but for trench coats, cuddle for the camera.) Less expected, though, is the personal touch: Shoppers who choose the $125 bottle get a complementary monogram, either through its Web site or through stores. 

But even less likely, in a category that typically relies on armies of department-store spritzers? MyBurberry is building its buzz in digital channels. After selecting their monogram, for example, shoppers can display the image though social media, showing their friends what it looks like.

“Fragrance does require a personal encounter — what smells great on one person won’t necessarily smell the same on another,” says Karen Grant, global beauty industry analyst for the NPD Group. “But we’re living in a time where people are open to engaging in these online encounters, and Burberry is using digital to engage a whole new demographic. It brings in this whole element of entertainment and personalization, and this sense you’re the star.”



The launch also relies on more traditional media, including print and TV, shot by Mario Testino. TV ads feature “I Put a Spell on You,” performed by British musician Jeff Beck and featuring Joss Stone. And Women’s Wear Daily reports the campaign, the first to feature the two British blondes together, will harness other digital elements, including interactive billboards.

Burberry, in its most recent financial results, says it expects sales of its beauty products to outpace other segments, growing by some 25% in the coming fiscal year. (It introduced its first fragrance in 1981, and began selling cosmetics four years ago.) And last year, Burberry raised eyebrows by breaking up with long-term beauty partner Interparfums SA, and choosing instead to go it alone.

Usually, Grant tells Marketing Daily, companies work with larger fragrance companies, such as Interparfums or Procter & Gamble, to handle their scents. And she concedes that going solo is a risk for Burberry. “This is a little revolutionary, but using the online space to distribute the product might allow them to be less restricted in their approach. The brand resonates with a very young audience, who see it as new and fresh.”

Overall, she says, the new product is well positioned. Sales of prestige fragrances sales are up 2% in the U.S. this year, with A-list designer brands, such as Chanel, accounting for about 70% of the market.

The British luxury retailer says the fragrance is “inspired by the trench coat and its heritage of British design and craftsmanship, and captures the fragrance of a London garden after the rain.” It describes the scent as “a contemporary British grand floral,” containing sweet pea, bergamot, freesia and geranium leaf.

The bottle, too, is raincoat inspired, including a horn-finish cap, which looks like the coat’s buttons, and a bow (hand-tied, naturally) of English woven gabardine.

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