In Action

A behind-the-scenes look at the launch of Mon Paris, the latest fragrance by Yves Saint Laurent

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Stephan Bezy

For two years, Stephan Bezy and his team worked on last summer’s launch, Mon Paris, the latest addition to the Yves Saint Laurent fragrance family. A few months on, Stephan tells us about what went on behind the scenes of the exciting launch.

Mon Paris, a captivating new fragrance by Yves Saint Laurent

“It all began with our determination to understand the new Saint Laurent woman”, Stephan says. Like Black Opium, released two years earlier, Mon Paris continues the drive to reinvigorate the brand. “Just as Black Opium was an homage to Opium and targeted girls with a rock’n’roll, subversive edge, Mon Paris celebrates Paris and is destined for romantic, sensual young women aged 20 to 30. We wanted to reinvent the concept of intense, dizzying love in the iconic city of Paris, which is so dear to Yves Saint Laurent”, explains Stephan.

Mon Paris was created to achieve this goal. From the scent’s design to the shape of the bottle, nothing was left to chance. “The chypre is white, luminous, transparent, clean and fresh, offering a daytime universe as a counterpoint to the night of Black Opium”, says Stephan. The scent has notes of bergamot, raspberry and peony, two varieties of patchouli – an amber, woody variety from Guatemala and a spicier version from Indonesia – blended with white musks that give a light and crystalline feel. Datura, a flower famed for its sensual night-time fragrance, was a must-have ingredient. Crafted by three master perfumers, Mon Paris is intended to win broad appreciation on both sides of the Atlantic. Stephan tells us: “Olivier Cresp, Dora Baghriche and Harry Fremont, the noses behind Mon Paris, have developed a unique scent with universal appeal”. How so? For one thing, it features the fruity notes that are popular on the Asian market.

At the same time, the sophisticated bottle designed by Catherine Krunas embodies youth and beauty, while staying true to the brand’s history. The multi-faceted bottle has a contemporary look and couture styling in an homage to the Yves Saint Laurent woman, emphasised by the iconic black ascot bow tie.     

An ambitious group effort for a creative launch strategy

This ambitious approach to designing the product extended to the entire launch strategy. “We worked with a very inventive group to depict a Paris that breaks away from the classic, conventional image people have of the city”, says Stephan.

Starting with the communication side, the brand called in a team of inventive artists to come up with an international campaign. The posters for the press campaign were created by Billy Kidd and the commercial was shot by We Are From LA, a team that made its name by directing the video for Pharrell Williams’s song “Happy”. The commercial, which conveys intense passion through a feeling of dizziness, sees two lovers moving accross Paris. “We follow them from the Eiffel Tower, to a night club, into the subway and on the rooftops of Paris, to express the feeling of vertigo associated with the fragrance”, Stephan explains. Two celebrities – French actor Jérémie Laheurte and Canadian model Crista Cober – were selected to play the lovers. “The choice was a careful one. Laheurte is the epitome of the wild, magnetic French lover, while Cober personifies a lovestruck, luminous and gracious modern young woman. There was a natural chemistry between the two.” The commercial was adapted to a wide range of formats and presented around the world: “From press and TV to digital, postering, we wanted to maximise the number of contact points”, Stephan tells us.

Stephan and his team also brought in some celebrity help to raise the launch’s profile on social media. The Yves Saint Laurent Beauty Crew is made up of local influencers, singers, actresses and models who act as brand ambassadors. To give an example, Béatrice Martin, a singer better known as Cœur de Pirate, posed with Mon Paris on Instagram, which generated lots of buzz around the fragrance.

Delivering an all-channel customer experience

The bold launch was made even more daring by its all-round customer experience: “We were looking to create something utterly modern, a customer-centred campaign featuring in-store and online digital activation while always conveying the notion of head-spinning disorientation and passion”, says Stephan.

Online, the brand created a specific video experience. In addition to the commercial, the “Love Vertigo” video on YouTube whisks viewers away on a lightning-fast, upside down tour of Paris. Filmed as a sequence shot, the video captures a mesmerising journey that ends on the roof of the Garnier opera house, just like the ad. The video can also be watched in 3D. “From the top of the opera house, viewers have a wrap-around view of the city, with the Mon Paris bottle floating above”, Stephan explains.

In store, guests get to taste a truly vertiginous experience. “Customers can take 360° selfies and see themselves floating with Paris in the background. With people sharing their pictures on social media, this campaign could only go viral!”, Stephan sums up.

What was the biggest challenge?

Stephan is quick to answer this question: “We had to be right on the money at every level: in terms of the brand, the era, and the expectations of our targets around the world! This is what guided us throughout the launch”.

All that dedication paid off: Mon Paris was ranked number-four on the European market when it was launched in July and has since broken into the US top ten.

 

Consumption | December 2016