Where Is the Innovation?


Yesterday’s New York Times Fashion & Style article, Those Aqua Velva Folks Knew Something makes note of the volume of new men’s fragrances inspired by the color blue – 20 in just the last few years.  Author David Colman gives credit to Davidoff Cool Water, which broke through as a top seller for over a decade.  Why?  The answer is innovation. Cool Water had a fresh breezy scent that was unlike typical heavy colognes.

So, what did the rest of the players in the men’s fragrance market do?  Copy it.  They copied the notes, the color, the ad imagery, and probably would’ve taken the name if it weren’t for those pesky trademark laws.

My question to the fragrance industry and the beauty industry in general: where is the innovation?  Or innovention? (I’ve so been wanting to use that word)  And, I don’t mean innovation for the sake of innovation.  Whoopee that most fragrance lines have launched solid perfumes.  Nobody cares – because nobody uses solid perfumes.  I’m talking about real innovation that meets a consumer need (whether consumers know they need it or not), as in the case of Cool Water.

So, enough with the fake new launches like lip glosses with extra sparkle or the umpteenth celebrity fragrance.  We need more disruptive launches such as Bare Escentuals mineral makeup that literally turned the foundation category on its head (or top).  It’s not good enough to keep copying the leaders.  I’d rather have a sci-fi eye shadow that changes shade from day to night than another boring scented lotion.  Challenge your R&D labs and marketing teams to give us something that truly blows us away.  And then it’s on to the next disruptive launch.

Come to Catchword with your next innovation – we’ll help you find a name that is just as memorable as your breakthrough product.


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