Jun 17 2010

Ring Pops & Marriage Proposal Inspire Mariah Fragrances

< >


THE NEW YORK TIMES: WHEN the singer Mariah Carey and her husband, the actor and rapper Nick Cannon, appeared on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” last September, Mr. Cannon told of how he proposed in 2008: he presented Ms. Carey with a Ring Pop, the gem-shaped lollipop on a ring. Inside the package was a proper engagement ring. Upon hearing the story, executives at Elizabeth Arden, the cosmetics company that since 2007 has sold a Mariah Carey fragrance collection, began to develop a proposal of their own.


Mariah Carey’s Lollipop Bling, three fragrances that Elizabeth Arden based on candy flavors and that will appear in stores soon, is the product of a partnership with the Topps Company, which makes Ring Pops. Print advertisements for the perfume in August issues of publications like Cosmopolitan, Elle and People Style Watch will show Ms. Carey wearing three Ring Pops.


The fragrances, named after Ms. Carey’s songs “Ribbon,” “Honey” and “Mine Again,” will be introduced by July 1 at department stores including Macy’s and Dillard’s, where with each purchase consumers will get a free Ring Pop.


Early next year, before Valentine’s Day, when romantics flock to both the perfume and candy aisles, the fragrances will be available in mass retailers like Wal-Mart and in drug stores. There, stand-alone display racks will feature both the fragrances and Ring Pops, with the candies in a special “Bling Collection” three-pack that promotes the fragrances. Ms. Carey was not available for comment.


A one-ounce bottle of the perfume will retail for $ 35, the 1.5-ounce candy three-pack will cost about $ 1.50.


“Topps sells tens of millions of units of candy,” said E. Scott Beattie, chief executive at Elizabeth Arden, which also has fragrance licensing deals with celebrities including Britney Spears, Danielle Steel and Elizabeth Taylor. “Combining their customer base with Mariah Carey’s fan base and our fragrance base is a great way to cross-promote all the brands.”


Since its introduction three years ago, the Mariah Carey line, with three fragrances, has grossed more than $ 150 million, Elizabeth Arden said.


In 2009, the company spent 5.2 million dollars advertising the perfume, while Topps spent 750,000 dollars advertising Ring Pops, according to Kantar Media, a unit of WPP.


Noreen Dodge, senior vice president of global marketing at the cosmetics company, said that the current fragrances draw the younger end of the singer’s fan base of 18- to 45-year-olds, mostly those 18 to 24, and that the new ones will appeal to still younger fans.


“We think it will bring an even younger customer into the Mariah Carey franchise,” Ms. Dodge said. The Lollipop Bling line will be advertised in youth-oriented publications where ads for the celebrity’s fragrances had not previously appeared, like Seventeen and Teen Vogue. But Ms. Dodge emphasized that these “are not your typical teeny-bopper fragrances.”


While the scents “take a candy element as a thread to be woven in a fragrance,” they do so in a way that “elevates candy into a prestige environment,” she said.


Laurent Le Guernec, a perfumer at International Flavors and Fragrances Inc. who designed the fragrances, said that while typical candy flavors like grape and banana have “cheap and very common” scents, he was able to build on the Blue Raspberry Ring Pop flavor for one fragrance, Ribbon. Into the “juiciness and sweetness notes” of that flavor Mr. Le Guernec said he layered floral notes.


While the Ribbon fragrance is reminiscent of a particular Ring Pop flavor, the other scents have notes only broadly associated with candy, like chocolate, raspberry, pineapple and honey. The new perfumes are far from juvenile, said Mr. Le Guernec, who before joining International Flavors and Fragrances designed popular scents including Lovely by Sarah Jessica Parker.


Founded in 1938 by brothers Abram, Ira, Philip and Joseph Shorin, Topps Chewing Gum, as it was known then, introduced Bazooka bubble gum in 1947, and in 1953 began including a tiny comic featuring Bazooka Joe, who was modeled after Joseph Shorin. The company introduced its popular baseball cards in 1951 and the Ring Pop in 1977.


Today the Ring Pop (tag line: “The flavor’s always on hand”) is turning more mouths blue than ever. Ari Weinstock, director of marketing for the confectionery division of Topps, said that the brand was forecasting record annual revenue this year. In the 52 weeks that ended May 16, it posted 14.9 million dollars in revenue, outpacing other novelty candies like Pez and Pop Rocks, according to SymphonyIRI Group, a market data company whose totals do not include Wal-Mart.


In 2007, Topps was acquired by an investment firm led by the former Walt Disney chief executive Michael D. Eisner, who is chairman of the company. Ryan O’Hara, the former president of the TV Guide Network, was installed as chief executive in February.


Recent advertising campaigns have “played up the emotional connection that people have with Ring Pops,” Mr. Weinstock said. “What we hit upon is that the Ring Pop is ultimately the only candy that you can show off, unlike a chocolate bar that you just consume,” he said. “It’s a candy that you put on your finger and flaunt, and it transforms you from just eating a piece of candy to being in the spotlight.”


Now the brand itself will be in the spotlight, thanks to its association with Ms. Carey and Elizabeth Arden, and will provide Ring Pop samples to shoppers at retailers like Macy’s, where the candy has never been sold.


“It’s a case,” Mr. Weinstock said, “of one plus one plus one equals 10.”




This article is tagged to: News
(0)  Comments

News Archive