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Quintessence shootout looms; brands’ move to Coty signals large bit of business to be decided by cluster of New York shops By Michael McCarth

NEW YORK–The impending shift in marketing responsibilities for Quintes

Under German parent Joh. A. Benckiser GmbH, Quintessence’s bigger sister company will take over marketing responsibility for the Quintessence porfolio of brands, including Jovan, Caliente, Aspen and Adidas on Jan. 1. As a restfit, the roughly $15 million Quintessence business will move out of current shop, Foote, Cone & Belding/ Chicago, and be fought over by a cluster of New York agencies.
Quintessence president Victor Zast confirmed that his company’s brands would be folded into Coty, the nation’s leading marketer of fragrances via mass outlets. ‘This tactical change will allow us to put more ad money against the key Quintessence brands like Jovan,” said Zast. Coty executives could not be reached for comment.
According to sources, Coty is giving its current stable of agencies lead shop Ketchum Advertising/N.Y., the Seiden Group/N.Y., Beber Silvetsrein & Partners/N.Y. and freelancers–a crack at Quintessence. However, sources said that Coty is also listening to overtures from outside agencies. Coty has traditionally farmed out creative project assignments while handling its media-buying through Robert J. Geller & Associates.
With the marketing muscle of Coty behind them, sources estimate that billings on the Quintessence portfolio will climb into the $20-$25 million range in 1994. “There are at least five agencies involved, and they’re talking big budgets,” said one source. “We’re not just talking about Coty; Benckiser is getting behind these brands in a big way.”
Ketchum serves as the lead agency on the $50 million Coty account. But this April, former Ketchum chief Hank Seiden (Seiden Group) fought his way back onto the Coty roster, winning an assignment for a new fragrance called Vanilla Fields, and could be a contender for the business (ADWEEK, April 20).
After the changeover, Zast said Quintessence will focus on developing products for alternative distribution channels. Quintessence will soon start advertising a new Eddie Bauer Adventurer line of fragrances through Eddie Bauer stores.
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)