Faith Hill Builds a Country/Coty Connection

By Bob Doerschuk

What does it take to launch a new fragrance for Coty? The qualities are as hard to find in one person as they are easy to list: beauty, elegance, intelligence, confidence, a high public profile … all of which and more are easily associated with Faith Hill.

And so it was no surprise when, in October, Coty Inc. unveiled Faith Hill Parfums, named for the three-time CMA Awards winner and Warner Bros. recording artist, adding her to a distinguished list of recording artist/ sponsors that includes Victoria Beckham, Celine Dion, Jennifer Lopez, Kylie Minogue, Gwen Stefani and Shania Twain.

Research pegged Hill as an ideal partner, according to Steve Mormoris, Senior VP of Global Marketing, Coty Beauty. But beyond her many positive attributes and active interest in beauty products, her identity as an artist was an added plus.

“Country Music is the biggest genre of music in the United States,” Mormoris said. “And so Faith has become a much broader cultural force than she might have been when she was starting her career. This surge in the appeal of Country Music showed us that it could be a legitimate segment in which we can find celebrities who could create beauty products for all women, not just women who like Country Music.”

Talent brand manager Michael Flutie helped bring Hill and the perfume company together. As founder and owner of Michael Flutie’s Office (MFO), he had already facilitated Coty’s launch of McGraw, the eau de toilette selected for the Fragrance Foundation’s 2009 FiFi Awards for Best Fragrance and Packaging of the Year, Men’s Popular Appeal. “Tim and Faith represent the intelligence of the American family — or at least the intelligence that every American family would like to believe they have,” he explained.

Hill worked closely with Coty in every step of development, from designing the bottle to fashioning the fragrance itself, whose light, floral bouquet was inspired in part by her Southern upbringing. “One of the reasons we chose Coty was that they were insistent on my involvement,” Hill confirmed. “It was fascinating to learn about the world of fragrance.”

Beginning with a Christmas-season campaign and a budget of more than $10 million, Coty advertised the product online and in ads with Elle, InStyle, People and other magazines, depicting Hill in reflective moments designed to communicate her values to customers 25 and above, even to those who were not familiar with her music. Hill also took it directly to the public through five live chats on http://www.FaithHill.com/fragrances, on which she answered questions submitted by fans. (Examples included: How can we influence our daughters about beauty and self-confidence? And how has your perception of beauty changed as you’ve gotten older?)

There was also one unexpected burst of publicity at the CMA Awards, when co-hosts Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood bantered humorously about wearing the McGraw and Hill scents. “I was thrilled,” Mormoris said. “That moment alone showed me that people embrace Country stars making beauty products. They’re fun, they’re sexy and they add a lot of dimension to this industry.”

© 2010 CMA Close Up® News Service / Country Music Association®, Inc.

Faith Hill Parfums print ad; photo: Michael Thompson

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