10/12/18

Creed Is Releasing Yet Another Aventus Flanker. Is This a Good Idea?


Oh, It's You Again.

Apparently Creed has decided, against its better judgment, that one Aventus isn't enough. The world desperately needs another. They came to this conclusion two years after the release of the first Aventus flanker, the clumsily-named Aventus For Her. And by the way, Aventus isn't the only Creed to get flanked - Love in White has LiW For Summer, in case it gets lonely. There are probably one or two other Creed flankers that I just haven't noticed, so if you happen to know them, please mention them in your comments below.

The thing is this: Creed is supposed to be a niche brand. I know there aren't hard and fast rules for marketing niche frags. It's not like the words "Thou shalt not flank" are etched in marble on the sidewalks of the Upper East Side. It's a free market. You can do as you please, and let the shareholders judge for themselves. But in a world where every designer label feels the need to flank incessantly, a world where Thierry Mugler's obsession with flanking has infected Chanel, Dior, YSL, Prada, and many others, eventually the question is raised: should a niche brand make flankers?

How does it look, exactly? I see Aventus, and I see Creed created another industry-changing behemoth, in the tradition of Green Irish Tweed and Millesime Imperial. At some point, a legacy designer will get smart and create a nearly identical clone of Aventus, in much the same way Davidoff and Armani did with Olivier's aforementioned perfumes, which is all the flanking a truly great fragrance needs. Creed should be setting an example for other niche brands by firmly reiterating their erudite approach to creative output as the ever-chic and simple "one-and-done."

Why riff off your own work? What more can you add to something done right the first time? Then there's the question of whether it's worthy of your brand's pedigree. Creed is supposed to be top shelf. We're talking $500 bottles here. Why should I see them on that level if they're following a designer trend, and making flankers? Brands at $90 per bottle issue flankers. Brands at $45 on the grey market issue flankers. Brands you buy in boredom at Marshalls and Walgreens for $16 issue flankers. Brands that make you choose between their perfumes and paying your mortgage should not be peddling cynical, money-grabbing flankers.

How do people perceive your brand when you start hedging your bets after critical letdowns? I perceive nervousness, with a dusting of panic. Creed got spooked by the underwhelming reception for Viking (and the rather intensely polarized reaction to Royal Mayfair), lost the belly to chance it with something new, and decided to play it safe by releasing a variation of a sure thing. An understandable strategy, but not the best look. It's embarrassing, especially for Creed, and anyone with half a brain considers it a clue to how devastating Viking was to their bottom line. The combined efforts of keeping Viking on shelves and releasing Aventus Cologne right after seem more like vain attempts to save face than smart business.

I think Creed has done excellent work in the past, and hope they continue releasing incredible perfumes in the future. But I'm really hoping they don't go all lowbrow on us and start making flankers, and then flankers for flankers. Aventus Cologne might smell great, and might be a limited edition, which would be preferable to a permanent entry in the line. But then again, it might smell like another disappointment. And after Viking, I doubt Creed wants more perplexed and dissatisfied customers.


20 comments:

  1. Maybe Creed should change their name to Greed?
    Even Guerlain puts out a yearly flanker of Shalimar now.
    Not too surprising Olivier is doing the same.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's a little surprising. Creed is on a different level, far, far above Guerlain.

      Despite his best efforts, Luca Turin has ultimately failed to convince me that Creed as a whole is a company that deserves only footnotes, and that conversely Guerlain is one of the Titans of perfumery. My experience with Guerlain has been relatively humdrum. Mitsouko is a great chypre, but it doesn't smell four dimensional like Original Vetiver, Spring Flower, etc. It smells like an excellent, top-tier designer fragrance. Vetiver and Habit Rouge smell pedestrian (I'd much rather wear GIT than either of those), and the only comparable designer fragrances I've encountered are Cool Water and XS, which are close enough to GIT and Himalaya that I'm not sure I'll bother dropping coin on either of those frags again.

      But Creed does use natural materials in tangent with expensive synthetics, they still employ old-fashioned maceration techniques on at least some of their frags, which I think is evidenced by how obviously Creeds age after first use in their bottles, and their end results are typically 4-D, performing in "layers" of scent that undulate across the olfactory passage in rippling flags of color and light that few other brands have even come close to, in my experience.

      So it strikes me as incredible that Creed would begin losing confidence in themselves. It actually makes me curious now to smell Viking. Is it really that bad? I thought Royal Oud was the worst Creed I've ever smelled, it literally just came across as a massive woody amber with pepper and pencil shavings, but apparently Viking is merely an "upscale Old Spice" that Creed has no business charging $500 for. (I happen to agree with the general sentiment that their prices have gotten ridiculous, btw.)

      What could possess Creed to break from their own tradition of taking an average of 5 years to release a new frag, just to release a flanker of Aventus?

      Delete

    2. "It's a little surprising. Creed is on a different level, far, far above Guerlain."

      I'm not a Guerlain fan BUT at least they have a history that isn't as laughably dubious as Creed. And you can't deny that Guerlain is in their own league with classics likeJicky, Shalimar, and Vétiver. I mean c'mon, what other perfume house has influenced as many trends as Guerlain?

      Delete
    3. Creed is on a different level above Guerlain? Only in price, in my opinion.

      Delete
    4. I mean really guys, let's not kid ourselves. Guerlain used to be the Creed of the 20th century, and then they lost control of their ship and sailed into designerville.

      They're responsible for a handful of truly classic fragrances, but in terms of comparable quality and performance, they fall far shy of Creed's level. The fact that people go apeshit over Creed isn't a reflection on some collective stupidity out there. People lose their shit over Creed because their perfumes do things few other brands do.

      The perfume that convinced me of this was, surprisingly, Green Valley. I remember my bottle of GV with utter love and wistfulness. I wish I still had at least one ounce of the stuff, and would probably consider paying $500 for it.

      Green Valley, when applied generously, did something I've only ever encountered before in Original Vetiver, but what it did was actually a bit more impressive than Original Vetiver. Green Valley actually smelled kinetic, like the smell of fresh, dewey, bitter blades of long grass waving through a cool breeze, and their motion in the air was actually translating into a smell. It's extremely difficult to describe. I really can't put words to it. Original Vetiver (vintage from the mid 2000s) did almost the exact same thing, but to a somewhat lesser extent.

      I'll never forget that. It's something that I've never encountered anywhere else, by any other brand, at any other price point, including the Amouages and slew of other niche frags I've worn. Guerlains have never even come close to the same level of magic as Green Valley. I know that sounds ridiculous, but to this day, that's what I have to go by.

      I often wonder if it's the reason Green Valley was so resolutely discontinued, one of the only Millesimes of the last 25 years to truly get deep vaulted. Did they employ a few materials in that formula that were so painstakingly expensive and tough to work with, that they just waved the white flag and gave up on it? I'll never know. But yeah, not all Creeds are anywhere near as legendary and respectable as stuff like Jicky, Mitsouko, Shalimar. But the Creeds that are excellent are light years more gorgeous than anything I've ever smelled by Guerlain.

      Delete
    5. Y'know I recall when Spring Flower first came out in 1996. I was walking through Nordstrom in San Francisco & the SA asked if I'd like to try a perfume made for Audrey Hepburn. I sniffed the blotter & it was the most amazing realistic, juicy, perfectly ripe peach followed by a trail of the most beautiful jasmine, ugh...and then crisp tart green apple & luscious red rose, and honeydew melon over the most gorgeous sheer musk all underscored with ambergris.SWOON. I bought it on the spot. So I understand the appeal of Creed. But I went to buy a bottle of Spring Flower for my niece for her wedding this July and it was like ????? I tried Spring Flower at 2 reputable stores in Dubai & it smells like a mere blur of its former self - like maybe the Glade air freshener version of the my old bottle of Spring Flower. What happened??? I seriously wondered if what I tried was fake. So I went to Nordstrom in Miami and tried SF again and it was the same bathroom air freshener thing.
      If Creed's products or batch variations are that fickle I'll spend my $ elsewhere.

      Delete
    6. Totally understandable Bibi, I also had that impression of vintage spring flower. Haven't tried the latest vintage but wouldn't be surprised if it sucked

      Delete
  2. My guess is that they are testing the waters, since a lot of fans might be willing blind buy a flanker (at least of Aventus) rather than something new (and perhaps the sales of Viking let them to think this was the case).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I would say that's a really good guess! But a "cologne" version of Aventus would almost certainly sell well. So isn't this a poor standard for testing? A better test would be to release a flanker for a scent lower on the radar, like say, Bois du Portugal.

      Delete
  3. Evidently we can only guess how companies like Creed make their decisions whenever they decide to release another fragrance. Perhaps they were indeed spooked by the sub-par reception of Viking? I can only try to imagine what their board of directors - or whatever their center of decision taking - is comprised of.
    Perhaps they just do what a zillion other companies do: hire an advertising agency who based on the client needs does research the market and then proposes a fitting product and or a strategy.

    Obviously, it didn't work out for the Viking release which may have been a little audacious and filled with confidence that this was gonna be another hit to add to the prize list.
    However it didn't, and so this time they choose to play it safe. Heaven forbids that there would be yet another deficit in their sales figures!

    This time the creative department was tasked to do whatever was necessary to avoid another failure, so the first question our creative goons must have asked was 'what is (y)our best selling product?' and a loud A-v-e-n-t-u-s! must have reverberated through the halls as if they were pleading the Gods of perfumery themselves.
    Followed by a less dramatic remark by a member of the think-tank:

    'why not just release a flanker of Aventus? Flankers are really hot at this moment!'

    - 'yeah, yeah! but we're Creed, isn't that too common, too vulgar? too designer fragrance?'
    'Well, we don't have to do it like ahum... CK Summer 2019... how about a... Aventus Cologne?'

    - 'That sounds much less flanker-y indeed! Let's do that!' (Applaus and standing ovation all around the board...)

    What I mean is in the end and especially nowadays, it's not about prestige or pedigree any longer. Hell, most people don't even know they should unbutton their bottom blazer button.
    It's just business and the 8 million ways how to make a quick profit.

    I know, I probably sound like an old man sentimentally regretting the proverbial good ol days when we were merry and young and all that jazz but that's just how I see it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As I said to Bigsly, it seems like a moot strategy. Aventus is successful enough, popular enough, and certainly groundbreaking enough to warrant that other things rise from the ground it broke, and thus Creed has a guarantee built into this perfume that anything bearing its name and visage will sell at least fairly well, even if not as well as the original.

      And for a brand like Creed, the "designed product" ethic comes into play. I view this through the lens that niche brands are more like car companies than anything else. At what point do car companies cannibalize their own brands? What was the benefit in GM releasing the Pontiac Sunfire when they already had a hot seller in the Chevy Cavalier (they were the same car, and one poached sales from the other). So in this regard, Aventus is the Cavalier, and Aventus Cologne is the Sunfire. One will probably eat away at the other's sales, especially at that price point. You could get some rich slobs who find it fitting to buy both, true, but more customers, even wealthy customers, will see it as an either/or scenario. Hmmm, it costs about $500 for a bottle of either? So which one should I buy? When that decision gets made, there's a loser and a winger, and why would Creed want to accept the financial risk for both?

      Price point is the key here. Designer frags can get around it because their prices are usually $100 or less per bottle, and at that level buyers can mix and match, and the profits even out and increase by sales volume alone.

      But at their price point, Creed doesn't see an increase in sales volume. They see a rebalancing of profits. What if people like Aventus Cologne better than the original? Unlikely, true, but what if? Suddenly, across the span of a year or so, they'll notice sales of Aventus beginning to decline, while sales of Aventus Cologne markedly rising. Not a good thing for them. If they discontinue AC, they risk pissing off their customers. It wouldn't necessarily mean a return to strident sales for Aventus, either.

      I'm not sure I see their executive board making the decision to release a flanker for their top seller without some other motive. What that motive is, it's clearly beyond me.

      Delete
    2. So, if I understood clearly and you're saying this isn't about sale figures then I can only see one remaining motive which is coincidentally something that resonates with me too; longevity.
      Creed also released Love in White for Summer this year and it has one thing in common with Aventus Cologne: reduced longevity.

      My personal preference for the longevity of a fragrance is around the 4 hour mark. Why? Because I can wear not one but several throughout the day; one in the morning, one in the afternoon and one in the evening. And although I never gave it a thought before, maybe other people do to?

      Delete
    3. Another motive could be that they continue the weeding out, like it's been discussed here before: Creed doesn't want people to buy their products unless they can actually afford it (and I mean rich people, not those that have to save up in order to buy it by the end of the year). In other words if you're not the target clientele stay out of the Creed boutique.

      Another motive could be that they continue the weeding out, like it's been discussed here before: Creed doesn't want people to buy their products unless they can actually afford it (and I mean rich people, not those that have to save up in order to buy it by the end of the year). In other words if you're not the target clientele stay out of the Creed boutique.

      It's not even exclusive to Creed, it's very much a business/advertising model for many (if not all) high end companies and that's among other things what market research IS: figuring out who and what kind of costumer you are aiming your products at.

      You made the parallel with cars, well then Creed is not GM but rather Lamborghini, Ferrari, Bugatti, Maserati, Rolls Royce, Bentley... you know, SUPER CARS. Not only are they highly expensive to buy and ensure, they are highly expensive to maintain, to drive, and you will NEVER see any of the owners doing the maintenance or servicing themselves! Those repair kits you get with the Ferrari are purely nostalgic in nature and Ferrari keep handing them out because they have always done so and because it's part of the Racing History when pilots were also skilled mechanics. But make no mistake about it; they are not actually expecting their clientele to touch these tools.

      And some of these companies simply don't want other persons than their target clientele and they will make that quite clearly.

      So yeah, I do expect lower strength fragrances with higher price tags coming up courtesy of Creed just because they can.
      You made the parallel with cars, well then Creed is not GM but rather Lamborghini, Ferrari, Bugatti, Maserati, Rolls Royce, Bentley... you know, SUPER CARS. Not only are they highly expensive to buy and ensure, they are highly expensive to maintain, to drive, and you will NEVER see any of the owners doing the maintenance or servicing themselves! Those repair kits you get with the Ferrari are purely nostalgic in nature and Ferrari keep handing them out because they have always done so and because it's part of the Racing History when pilots were also skilled mechanics. But make no mistake about it; they are not actually expecting their clientele to touch these tools.

      And some of these companies simply don't want other persons than their target clientele and they will make that quite clearly.

      So yeah, I do expect lower strength fragrances with higher price tags coming up courtesy of Creed.

      Delete
    4. Not sure what went wrong with the text formatting above? I normally write my text in a separate text editor because I had my browser acting up in the past and then paste it here but obviously something went really wrong. Sorry about that.

      Delete
    5. All the above being said, it's pretty clear that we'll never know what motivates Creed to take such or such decisions no matter how hard we try (and I may have tried a little too hard bordering on the absurd, although I do speak from a certain experience when it comes to the advertising agency business) to simulate their decision making.
      People may adore Creed for their pristine ingredients and formulas (even though limited to some releases more than as a whole) or may hate them for all their inconsistent batch releases or mock able faux history. Or one may be simply impartial to it, like myself.

      One thing we can all agree upon is that fragrance preferences is very much a subjective thing and if someone find her or his happiness into acquiring a bottle of Creed, that is all that should really matter.

      Delete
  4. Maybe during one of Olivier Creed's many life threatening excursions to exotic places, he discovered a rare flower grown by mountainous tribesmen called "cologne." He personally, and carefully, selected each individual flower which is used in the fragrance - which amounts to approximately 4.76903% of the entire harvest - and was able to extract its essence.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Masrimaghrebi, I get that Creed's advertising copy is absurd, and completely agree that they would do well to tone down the horseshit. Evoking images of Olivier Creed clinging to the Himalaya mountainside does little to make me want to buy Creed's Himalaya.

      But by the same token, Himalaya, and most Creeds, speak for themselves. They sink or swim on their own merits. Some are weaker than others in composition, concept, and execution. Some are truly great. GIT is an easy example of greatness, but Original Vetiver, Chevrefuelle, Green Valley, and Fleur de Tea Rose Bulgare are also incredible.

      So it's good fun to make fun of Creed, and in large part they deserve every bit of it, as long as they continue spinning wild tales about what inspired their latest one million dollar product. But a part of me remembers that when the jokes are over, the beautiful classics are what I really remember.

      Delete
    2. Oh definitely. I wasn't around before niche and high end designers started peaking in the mainstream due to the social media explosion, but if someone told me Creed's marketing used to be sane before then, I'd believe it. Even if they were trying to convince people that Vetiver was JFK's favorite scent, the class divide made evident by those wearing Cuir de Russie sparked the Bolshevik revolution, Jacobins got violent due to fighting over disagreements over different batch codes for Royal English Leather, and Santal Imperial was commissioned by Gilgamesh so he could smell nice when crashing a wedding and getting to know the bride, I still think their fragrances are worthy of adoration. That was one of the things I disliked about Luca Turin's first Guide. He just lambasted every Creed scent, except for GIT (possibly a couple of others, but I don't recall), and called one of them a chemical mess (Original Santal maybe? Which isn't great, but it's not awful).

      Delete
    3. If I recall he also liked Neroli Sauvage and didn't totally hate Bois du Portugal. But his reviews of most Creeds were clearly revenge for something Creed said or did to him.

      Delete

Thank you for your comment. It will be visible after approval by the moderator.