Notes on a Scandal: Puig unveils new Jean Paul Gaultier feminine fragrance

Best foot forward: The striking Scandal bottle

Puig and Jean Paul Gaultier last week dramatically marked the launch of Jean Paul Gaultier’s new feminine fragrance Scandal at an event in Paris.

A formal cocktail dînatoire at the Romanian Embassy gathered together international press (including The Moodie Davitt Report) and guests including stylist Catherine Baba and Vanessa Axente, the face of Scandal.

Available as a 50ml and 80ml edp, Scandal marks the first fragrance launch since Puig took over the licence deal from Beauté Prestige International (BPI) last year. The scent is pre-launching exclusively in Europe travel retail from 1 July with Dufry and Lagardère Travel Retail before a wider travel retail and domestic roll-out in August.

The scent was unveiled to guests before a three-hour ‘scandalous’ performance by the Manko Cabaret team, which included drag acts, pole dancing and singing.

Scandal, created by Daphne Bugey with Fabrice Pellegrin and Christophe Raynaud, marks a new pillar fragrance for Jean Paul Gaultier. Key fragrance notes are blood orange, honey, patchouli and gardenia. The fragrance bottle is made from transparent glass and the stopper is a gold pair of female legs. The bottle is housed in a pink suede cylindrical box, mirroring the Classique and Le Mâle box shapes.

The Scandal advertising campaign, which mixes sex and politics, features model Vanessa Axente who leads a double life as the ‘Madame La Ministre’ character. By daytime she is a member of government and by night she lives a scandalous existence, according to the campaign.

“Travel retail is a great distribution channel to express the story we want to tell at the point-of-sale, so you can expect spectacular installations”

Red carpet roll-out: Jean Paul Gaultier with the face of Scandal, Vanessa Axente, at the launch party
Scandal, scandal and more scandal: Guests at the launch were led to a secret room in the Romanian Embassy where the Manko Cabaret team performed

To support the launch of Scandal, in July there will be a major promotional take-over in Dufry’s UK, Spain and France airport stores, including London Heathrow, Paris Charles de Gaulle and Barcelona El Prat. Activations will include oversized legs, digital photo booths with different leg options and newspapers with the headline ‘The Scandal is out’.

Speaking to The Moodie Davitt Report, Jean Paul Gaultier Fragrances General Manager Thomas James said that travel retail will play a big role in the launch of Scandal. “Travel retail is a great distribution channel to express the story we want to tell at the point-of-sale, so you can expect spectacular installations. Since the relaunch in January 2016 we have based everything on the spectacular model which means we want to do spectacular things and bring fun to the fragrance market.

Thomas James hails travel retail as a powerful platform to express Jean Paul Gaultier’s brand DNA

“We are working closely with travel retailers and distributors to create crazy things. Retail is key now; we have the story of Madame La Ministre, we have the fragrance and we have the bottle but how can we convey this message at the point-of-sale? We believe travel retail has been really creative lately and has allowed us to express the brand DNA in a very grandiose and spectacular way. People are travelling more and we know we have a captive audience in an airport.

“The opportunity for us is to propose something fun and to create an experience; of course we want to sell products but most importantly it’s the perfect channel to express the brand DNA and values.”

“We want to do spectacular things and bring fun to the fragrance market”

James continued: “We have something called digiretailtainment which is the merge of digital and retail. The idea is to propose an experience because now in retail it’s all about engaging the customer. The idea is to bring the digital experience into the point-of-sale through many tools, for example, the photo booth with different leg options will create a story telling experience. We will also have giant legs and striking, clearly identifiable visuals.”

“The newspaper is key to the launch,” said James. “Everything will be based on this and we want to come full circle and to propose a 360-degree experience that is totally consistent with the Madame La Ministre double life.”

Scandal complements the existing Jean Paul Gaultier fragrance range in many ways but has “very different” codes for the brand, noted James. “If you look at the bottles, for 20 years we have had torsos on the fragrance and now we have legs. Classique and Le Mâle remain the flagship of the brand and they represent all the Jean Paul Gaultier values so they will continue to be an emblematic and historical pillar but we want to build these new pillars with a totally different story and fragrance.

Highlights from the Manko Cabaret performance included pole dancing and drag acts

“Our objective is to tell a story. On one side we have Classique and Le Mâle the factory, with this industrial, glamorous factory and on the other side you have Madame La Ministre so we think it is very clear what the two stories are that we tell.”

Does James think that Scandal has the potential to be as successful as Le Mâle and Classique? “We hope that Scandal can be as successful as Le Mâle and Classique but we never know,” he said. “We’ve done all that we can and now we will keep our fingers crossed. At the end of the day it is the customer who will decide if it is a classic that will become a timeless fragrance. We did our best to be faithful and truthful to the brand and we work in a very sincere way with Jean Paul so, now we just have to wait and see.”

Scandal, a chypre fragrance, features the unusual fragrance note of honey

When asked about Scandal’s target audience, James said that Jean Paul Gaultier never thinks to target a specific audience when creating a fragrance. “If we thought about a target audience then we would have used an influencer,” he said. “But we think about creating a story and then creating the right fragrance for the story, to create the right advertising for the story.

Jean Paul Gaultier lets the Scandal out in Paris

“Everyone is talking about millennials but what is nice about Jean Paul Gaultier is that we work closely with him and so our objective and the way we work is to deliver the most sincere, unexpected and fun story. The perfumer suggested the honey note and we thought the ambivalence and duality was interesting so let’s go for it.”

James underlined Jean Paul Gaultier’s importance to Puig’s overall fragrance sales. “It [Jean Paul Gaultier] complements the Puig portfolio because it’s an haute couture French brand and Puig didn’t have this in its portfolio before [the reintegration of the brand]. In terms of sales, Jean Paul Gaultier is very important in Europe and travel retail. We are going to develop the brand’s business in Latin America because we have a strong position there thanks to Paco Rabanne and Carolina Herrera.”

Since the relaunch of the Jean Paul Gaultier brand last year, Le Mâle and Classique have performed ‘amazingly’ in travel retail, according to James. “This year we launched the Gaultier airlines animation* which has become like the new identity of Jean Paul Gaultier in travel retail. We want to create this yearly rendez-vous in travel retail with the Gaultier airlines animation.

“2016 was a transition year because we had to clean the portfolio and trade up because there was a lot of promotion around the brand so we upgraded the brand in terms of image and distribution but now the results are amazing and the strategy has paid off.”

*The Gaultier airlines promotion was developed specifically for travel retail for the core Jean Paul Gaultier ranges. The animation is inspired by vintage airlines such as Pan Am and recreates a check-in desk.







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