Thursday, February 08, 2007

Death by Launch Fatigue

I am a big fan of fine fragrance, as I attempted to establish in an earlier post, but I can’t get even close to checking out every new launch. With hundreds of fragrances introduced every year, I don’t know who can. Still, it would be fun to try.

There’s a lot of talk lately in the industry about just this subject, the number and quality of fragrances brought to market, including the following snippet from an interview with Symrise perfumer Maurice Roucel that appeared in a recent edition of the Perfumer & Flavorist magazine e-newsletter, P&Fnow:

There appears to be general agreement within the fine fragrance world that there are simply too many launches. And for every launch comes consumer tests which are a serious financial burden, especially considering the limited amount of truly successful scents. This fragrance by committee approach, said Roucel, has turned fragrance into a commodity. “Every year you have 300-400 new perfume challenges,” said Roucel. “That’s a huge cemetery.” In the end, Roucel noted, a very small percentage of successful scents are financing the many unsuccessful launches each year, a system that is simply not working. As he put it, “It is possible we are going nowhere.”

So, what’s the solution? More manageably, what are the choices fragrance companies should consider now to breathe new life into their launches? With an ever-growing number of companies marketing scents, what will it take for a new fragrance to stand out and succeed? Your comments could change the course of an entire industry. Don't be shy!


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