Brand Extension: Vespa Launches Its First Perfumes
Piaggio, the Italian manufacturer of the iconic Vespa brand of scooters, is diversifying into the perfume industry. Vespa is extending its product range by launching a selection of new Vespa fragrances for both men and women.
Scooter manufacturer Vespa partnered with beauty product manufacturer Coty to develop new fragrances that will carry Vespa’s name. With this launch, Vespa extends both its brand and product range from scooters to perfumes.
This move might sound risky but still remains interesting. While some might find it difficult to associate a scooter brand with the scent of perfume, instead imagining the smell of the toxic fumes that emanate from the scooters, Vespa is focusing its strategy on suggesting the smells of Italy, the freedom and the open road magical scents of the “dolce vita”.
The print adverts
In fact, the print adverts, developed by Young & Rubicam Paris and photographed by Diane Sagnier, show a group of happy young people under the Mediterranean sun. The ads perfectly reflect Vespa’s brand identity, who has chosen “The Scent of Freedom” both as its signature and as the name of its perfume collection.
Vespa for Her was created by perfumer Nicolas Beaulieu. Notes include lemon sorbet, bergamot, ginger, orange blossom, heliotrope, apple, cedar, vanilla and white musk.
Vespa for Him is the men’s version developed by perfumer Juliette Karagueuzoglou. Notes include grapefruit, juniper berries, violet, lavender, pink pepper, pineapple, patchouli, suede and vetiver.
Both the bottles and the packaging design were conceived by the independent agency 4autre. The bottles have been designed to discretely imitate the front part of a Vespa scooter and the boxes represent a minimalist yet vintage style, with the Vespa logo and Italian flag reiterating the brand’s origins.
The brand extension strategy:
Brand extensions are a marketing strategy in which a company marketing an established product uses the same brand name in a different product category. This strategy is a good way for companies to improve and leverage their brand equity; in other words, their brand image, brand awareness and long-term sustainability.
It is surprising that Vespa chose to expand towards the perfume industry as consumers might associate toxic road smells with the new fragrances. Vespa might loose time and energy by trying to convince people that the fragrance smells like summer and freedom instead.
The fragrances will need to truly reflect the Italian “Dolce Vita”, which is Vespa’s main brand association. A failure in the fragrance’s conception could create undesirable attribute associations, damage the Vespa’s perceived quality, or alter existing associations.
Finally, this new product development demonstrates the will for Vespa to expand the industry it plays into, making the brand not just about motor engines, but an essential part of the Italian “Dolce Vita” experience. By developing a perfume, Vespa might be able to enhance its brand universe with a new olfactory experience.