NEW YORK -- Forget the smell of sweat, grass and dirt. Disney Consumer Products wants young boys smelling their best.
Disney is rolling out Pirates of the Caribbean- and Buzz Lightyear-branded fragrances targeting boys ages 4-11 in Latin communities.
The products, which will retail between $9.95 and $19.95, will reach retail shelves by September in time for the holiday season.
"Our strategy is to go after the Hispanic population in the U.S," said Johanna Mooney, director of food, health and beauty at Disney Consumer Products, Burbank, Calif. "The market is driven by gift-giving, so we will target moms and grandmothers—the primary gift-givers."
The new fragrance products will be available in Wal-Mart, Kmart, Target, Duane Reade, Fred Meyer and Longs Drugs stores in areas with large Hispanic populations.
Rochelle Bloom, president of the Fragrance Foundation, New York, said it is a smart move by Disney to introduce fragrances for boys, as well as to target Hispanic consumers with the products. "I think it's a fabulous idea by Disney," she said. "The products will sell well. U.S. males are slower to get into the men's fragrance arena than European, Latin and South American men. There is an untapped market with huge potential here."
Sales of children's cologne and gift sets to Hispanic consumers grew 7.3% to $352,433 in the food, drug and mass channels for the 52 weeks ending June 16, per ACNielsen. Miami is far and away the largest market for these products, accounting for more than half of the sales.
While Disney, through its partnership with licensee Air Vale International, Barcelona, Spain, has had juvenile (and boy-focused) fragrances in Europe, South America and Latin America for the last 15 years, the concept is new to the U.S. retail market and U.S. culture. "Baby colognes [for boys and girls] are part of European and Hispanic grooming habits," said Mooney. "The general U.S. population does not have that habit. Fragrances are typically for girls and adults."
Disney tested a boys Cars fragrance line in 2006. Mooney said the results were positive, noting that both Disney and Air Vale were surprised at how strong the acceptance has been and how fast retailers have taken the products.
Much of the merchandise will not have placement on store shelves; instead it will be featured in displays.
Disney has no plans for a widespread advertising campaign. Instead, POP and co-op ads are available for chains.
"If the products are positioned correctly in stores with high percentages of Hispanic consumers, they should do well," said David Perez, CEO of consultancy Latin Force, New York. "But Spanish-language signage would be helpful in the marketing."
While fragrance as part of a daily regimen for younger males is new, it is a growing trend even among older consumers in mainstream markets, said John Bauersfeld, vp-sales for fragrances at Camrose Trading, Miami, the U.S. distributor for the new products. "Look at the success of Axe [body spray]. It targets [males] 18-24 years, but ages 12-and-up are buying it like it's going out of style. The age of [male] fragrance wearers is moving down."
Despite this shift, Axe has no plans to target younger males, said Sam Chadha, director of antiperspirant/deodorant at Unilever Home and Personal Care, Englewood Cliffs, N.J. "While we realize some younger guys might use our products, and we're flattered by that, we've had great success focusing on the college-aged guy, and they will continue to be our focus."