The remarkable Creed Aventus

The remarkable Creed Aventus
Photo by Andrea Donato / Unsplash

How much would you typically spend on a 100ml of (men's) fragrance? £30? £50? £100? North of this?

In the world of fragrances, two pricing structures dominate - designer and niche. Designer brands incorporate those usual suspects: Davidoff, Chanel, CK, etc, whereas niche brands are (meant to be) low production and high quality, featuring brands you have never heard of such as Roja, Amouage, Parfums d'Marley and the brand featured here: Creed. Creed's story began back in 1760 when a pair of scented leather gloves were delivered to King George III by a new London tailoring company. Founded by James Henry Creed in the same year as the young King’s accession, The House of Creed started its journey as an exquisite tailor based in Mayfair, London. Leaving this auspicious start behind, Creed went on to create some of the finest garments and fragrances in Europe. Nowadays, a 100ml bottle of Creed would set you back between £265 and £295 depending on the product line. Creed's most famous perfume is (undoubtedly) Creed Aventus. Launched in 2010, top notes of musk and pineapple with a unique smokey dry down have meant Aventus is a firm favourite with frag-heads (fragrance connoisseurs). Whilst it is a beautiful scent that would no doubt be a success regardless, three tactics have added to the success of the line. Each are now explored:

  1. An ever-changing formula:

You might think that most fragrances smell the same now as how they did when they were first conceived. In many cases this is true, but not always - and certainly not for Creed. Indeed, for Aventus, Creed makes sure that a 'batch' code is published with each bottle sale, providing a clear and traceable marker of its lineage. For example, a bottle purchased in 2013 would have a clear batch code, distinguishable from one in 2023. Some marketers would argue this to be a fools errand, noting the importance of consistency, but not Creed. Why? Well, different 'batches' provide a unique and novel talking point between loyal fans. Moreover, with a perfume that could last between 3 and 6 years (assuming it isn't the user's only fragrance), how does a niche perfumer encourage consistent and loyal purchasing? Giving people something different every year, triggering FOMO is a good start. For each new batch, Aventus lovers run out to purchase just in case of missing out on a masterpiece. Minor amendments to the formula evident in smell and longevity give this strategy away. Online forums fill up with reviews and insights about each batch creating a fanfare worthy of being Creed's most potent weapon.

  1. Endorsement:

Creed doesn't need to pay anyone to wear Aventus, but many high profile actors and sports stars do. Creed has a long heritage of being a favourite amongst the rich and famous. Clint Eastwood and Pierce Brosnan supposedly still wear Green Irish Tweed (GIT) and Frank Sinatra was never without a bottle of Bois de Portugal (BdP). Aventus is known to be worn by Michael Fasbender and Tom Hardy amongst others. Is there any better form of promotion? Probably not. In marketing spiel, this process is referred to as Affect Transfer. The positive (or negative) affect that is held towards a celebrity transfers over to the product and brand when we associate it with them. This naturally has its own risks - for instance if the celebrity misbehaves (ask Nike about Tiger Woods!).

  1. Flankers:

A company may introduce a flanker brand to the market, which is a new product or brand in the same product category. The entrant is designed to target a different group of consumers, so that the existing item's market share is not affected. However, this can only happen when the former is strong and occupies a solid position. In 2019, Creed launched Aventus Cologne, an altogether different fragrance that maintained its existing namesake, and from this success will do so again next month with the launch of Aventus Absolu. Don't be fooled into questioning whether cannabilisation is a concern! In fact, sales of Aventus are expected to increase.

Often we make the mistake of assuming that marketing masterclasses can only be delivered by brand name marketers with colossal budgets. But, there is much we can all learn from niche fragrances houses, and in particular the House of Creed. If the jury is still out , perhaps have a quick glance at their financial performance over the last few years. You will surely find there marketing is anything but niche.