How many of us actually go deep into the aspects of a fragrance? It just needs to smell good, right? But there are more layers beneath, as we analyse with the newly launched Armani Code Sport for men, and attempt to understand the Indian luxury fragrance market more
By: Soumya Jain
Posted on: August 10, 2011
Those small fragrance bottles, packed beautifully, hold a world of tantalizing sensations. Each portrays something different which applies to a certain person only. Do you know which one says what and which one portrays you? The language is difficult to understand and probably becomes discernable after years of experience.
One such fragrance, which aims to completely overtake your sanity, is Giorgio Armani’s Code Sport for Men. With the tagline of ‘Seduction in a Bottle’, this perfume runs on three key values: Tension, Seduction and Technology. Created by master perfumer Jacques Cavalier, the fragrances emulates the vision of Mr Giorgio Armani perfectly.
Mr Carlton Pereira, Product Manager at L’Oreal’s Luxury Division, explained the three values in detail and alternated his words with some videos and testing of the fragrance itself.
Tension in the fragrance comes from the trio of mints - American Spearmint, Italian Peppermint and Brazilian Wild Mint – along with Sicilian Mandarin. “It took Mr Cavalier a year just to figure out the perfect constitution and percentage of the mints to be used!” said Mr Pereira. The bottle exudes tension through the high contrast of colours used in the design – black and red.
Seduction is probably the most inherent part of the overall package. Ambrox, a derivative of amber, which is known to be a natural aphrodisiac from the middle ages, has been used in the perfume. Mr Pereira narrates an interesting incident which led to the use of this ingredient – “Mr Cavalier, once while working in the laboratory, dropped a bit of ambrox on his hand. When he went out, he got a lot of compliments from people. That’s when he realized the potency of this ingredient. Therefore, he used five per cent of ambrox in this fragrance which is the highest ever percentage used in a perfume.” The fragrance permeates a woody smell because of Vetiver sourced from Haiti and Ginger from Nigeria. The perfume is housed in a bottle whose slightly curvaceous figure again portrays seduction.
Technology was a little difficult to guess, but when Mr Pereira explained, it all made sense! “I keep saying that fragrance is a fragrance is a fragrance. But technology has actually been used here. It includes a patented molecule called Hivernal. It gives a fresh, icy feel to the perfume. But the great thing about this molecule is that when its pure form is applied on a piece of paper or cloth, it can last for up to three months. Therefore, when added in the fragrance, it essentially adds an element of long-lastingness to it,” he said. The bottle itself is not the usual glass version which you see in all fragrances. When I felt the bottle the first time, I involuntarily gasped! It was velvety and silky to touch! Mr Pereira gave a knowing smile at my reaction and said, “It’s made with a material called Soft Touch. And not only is it soft, it is extremely resistant to shocks and scratches. This is the first time that a full bottle has been made with this material.”
If you are getting bored with all these technical details, let me tell you more about the glamourous aspects of this fragrance. The campaign for Code Sport has well-known actress Megan Fox and Chris Folz as the protagonists. The seductive campaign images mirror the sentiments which Mr Armani wants to communicate.
Mr Armani also collaborated with artist Philippe Francq to portray a strip of what the advertising doesn’t show. Taking the graphic route, the entire Armani Code Sport saga is related in a strip showcasing mystery and seduction with power. This graphic strip tells a story of the power of a man’s body – his tool for seduction – magnetic as it moves under the luminous swimming pool at night. The scented night of Los Angeles inevitably draws him together to a woman. The woman in the sketch, that is Megan Fox, is not able to escape the bond and temptation.
L’Oreal started distributing Armani fragrances in 2009, and as per Ms Ratnamani MVK, Business Head at L’Oreal Luxury Divisions, the brand has since been doing well. You ask her about competition brands and she answers truthfully, “Most of the competition brands have been in India for much longer. We have Dior and Chanel as competition I would say. But interestingly, in India, Issey Miyake seems to be doing well!”
But it’s not the competition which has her worried. She is more concerned with other challenges faced by the extremely huge luxury fragrance market in India. “In the luxury fragrances space, unfortunately, we don’t have the right retail format yet. We are a very fragrance oriented country, but none of the retailers have actually cashed on to that sentiment. We are still waiting for retailers to wake up! How many luxury consumers would like to go to Shopper’s Stop to shop? They don’t! One who has started and is doing reasonably well, I would say, is Parcos. At least they started a completely perfume-based shop! It is doing well. Hopefully it would spread across,” she says.
While India is such a fragrance loving country, Indians are usually not very discerning when it comes to identifying the right kind of perfume for themselves. Ms Ratnamani concurs that while they know there is something called a top note or a middle note, a lot of education is still required to help the market grow overall. “Most of them don’t know how we should select a fragrance, what is it you should look for when selecting a fragrance, what should you wear, when should you wear what – these are questions which people don’t really care about. If it smells good, it’s good. These are the kind of things we would like to take up in the educational workshops that we are planning to address these concerns,” she explains.
Though a change of this magnitude will take quite a lot of time to come, brands are hoping to gain more awareness about their different lines of fragrances first. Our guess is that a popular brand as Giorgio Armani shouldn’t be facing that problem at least!