In the back room of a large department store, a handful of sales associates sat around a chipped melamine table. Towers of holiday-themed fragrance boxes were stacked along the walls. Deb, the store's fragrance department manager, poured a cup of coffee and sat down with the group.
"Is everyone here? Good. Joe, would you hand out these tester cards? Thanks." Deb held up a rectangular bottle filled with purple liquid. "I want to introduce a new fragrance we'll be carrying, Beckham Signature for Her. We're also carrying Beckham Signature for Him, but today I want to focus on Signature for Her."
Jackie, who was still catching her breath from dashing into the meeting at the last minute, brought the tester card up to her nose. "It smells like grape juice," she said.
"Please don't interrupt. Now, the key words we'll be using to describe this fragrance are 'iconic' and 'elegant'. The tops notes are anise flower and candy apple accord."
Jackie snorted. "I'll give you a hundred bucks if Victoria Beckham has ever been in the same room with a candy apple, let alone eaten one. I bet she lives off of diet Coke and strips of raw beef."
"According to Women's Wear Daily*, she was intimately involved with Signature for Her. Here, let me read a quote: 'With the fragrances, I designed the bottles, I got to the factory, I worked on the fragrances. I'm really the creator behind the project.' See?" Deb looked up triumphantly.
"And she thinks candy apples smell like grape juice," Jackie said. "Besides, she's a JAR girl if I've ever seen one."
"The fragrance's middle notes are orchid, heliotrope, and vanilla. Victoria said" — here Deb picked up her copy of Women's Wear Daily again — "'I love white orchids, and I wanted something light. I can't bear it when you can smell someone before you see them.'"
"What do white orchids smell like? The orchids I've picked up at Trader Joe's don't smell like anything." Joe asked.
"Apparently they smell like grape juice with a pinch of laundry detergent," Jackie said. "Really loud grape juice. The kind you can definitely smell before you see."
"Some orchids are extremely fragrant," says Miriam, a fastidious blond with mathematically-placed highlights. "They can smell like all sorts of things."
"Like grape juice, for instance." Jackie said. "You're starting to get irritating," Deb said, looking at Jackie. "Any more out of you and I'll ask the manager to transfer you to luggage." She turned to the rest of the SAs. "Now, as I was saying, the base notes for Signature for Her are patchouli, amber, and musk."
Joe said, "I definitely get a little of the amber and vanilla, but not the patch or musk. Instead, I mostly smell..." His eyes drifted toward Jackie.
"Signature for Her is positioned as a luxury fragrance. Let me read you one more quote from the article, from the Senior Vice President for Marketing for Coty Global Beauty," Deb looked around the table to make sure everyone was suitably impressed. "He said, 'We decided to launch Beckham Signature for Him and Her in the prestige market due to the high style and aspirational nature of David and Victoria.'"
"I'm sure he meant that as a compliment," Jackie said.
Ignoring Jackie, Deb stood up, signaling that the meeting was over. "This holiday season could be a tough one for retail. Take your info sheets about Signature for Her and sell sell sell! And remember, if they want samples, make 'em beg."
Beckham Signature for Her comes in Eau de Toilette: 50 ml for $52 and 75 ml for $62. It also comes in body lotion and shower cream.
* quotes via wwd, 6/20/08.