I AM TRASH is an innovative first in the luxury fragrance industry.
Luxury generates 92 million tons of waste each year. As a brand that does not follow the rules, niche perfumer Etat Libre D’Orange went beyond just edgy. Its latest innovation took on the perfume industry to turn its waste into the most wanted scent. I AM TRASH, the first fragrance made from the exorbitant amount of waste that’s left over from the very process of fabricating perfume.
Challenging conventions of a «fine fragrance», the bold idea was set to change the way society looks at trash.
Etat Libre d’Orange, whose name translates to The Free State of Orange, is more of a mindset than a perfume house. Defiance is rooted deep in the Brand’s DNA. So, getting behind the creation of a fragrance made from waste and agreeing with the agency’s idea to name the signature scent, I AM TRASH, was boldly embraced as a true reflection of the perfumer’s brand values.
There’s something to be said for the relationship between waste and luxury and combining them so flagrantly. There’s also an ecologically responsible element to I AM TRASH that condemns the waste luxury so often represents.
I AM TRASH was courageous in that it had not been done before and the final fragrance needed to have commercial appeal in order to achieve the company’s year-end sales goals and business objectives of product launch.
Describe the creative idea (20% of vote)
The idea behind I AM TRASH was to reveal the beauty in waste through perfume. From the scent itself to all the communication around it, we wanted to show that reusing waste can be aesthetic and pleasing for all senses. Luxury is deeply linked with temporality, yet we tend to live more and more through ephemeral experiences, from social relations to consuming behaviours. The notion of renaissance was at the heart of our creative development. We believe that the prosperity of humankind will depend on our ability to manage waste. With I AM TRASH, we reconciliated two opposite worlds: perfume and waste; to prove that trash can be turned into a meaningful resource for any type of luxury good.
Describe the PR strategy (30% of vote)
Combining trash and perfume is so atypical and unexpected that we knew it would appeal to press specialists. In order to trigger their interest, we presented I AM TRASH as the first perfume made from trash. Our ambition was clearly set; we wanted to reveal the beauty in trash with a powerful baseline that said: "I AM TRASH; the most wanted scent made from the unwanted".
We targeted fashion magazines and perfume specialists to convince as many retailers as possible to order the scent. The PR kit included the scent (an essential part to prove that waste could turn into a delicate and refined scent), a teaser film and key visuals that also capitalized on the aesthetic of organic trash.
Describe the PR execution (20% of vote)
It took us 10 months from conception to commercialization. As an end-to-end partnership, the agency not only came up with the idea but also got involved in the brief for the nose, the packaging design, the name of the scent and all the campaign assets.
- We launched a teaser film in April 2018 to fuel excitement in the media; and, therefore, get fabricators interested in this unconventional project.
- We set up interviews in several radio and tv shows to keep the topic hot.
- From April to September, we worked with Daniela Andrier, one of the best-known noses worldwide.
- In October, I AM TRASH was officially launched in the brand’s boutique in Paris, online and via 450 retailers throughout the world.
- We sent the perfume to hand-picked journalists, from both specialized and mainstream media to extend its reach globally.
List the results (30% of vote)
Tier 1: 90M media impressions in the most qualitative fashion and luxury magazines such as Vogue, Elle, GQ and Forbes. I AM TRASH made Elle's top perfume list. The perfume was tested and discussed in several TV and radio shows.
Tier 2: mainstream media defined I AM TRASH as "A new type of luxury" (Le Monde), "the most beautiful tribute to trash" (GQ) or "a successful experimentation that will inspire the entire industry" (Le Figaro).
Tier 3: Three months after release, demand from 450 retailers was 4 times higher than previous bestseller. It became the most successful launch in the history of the brand. In the UK, the perfume was distributed exclusively by Selfridges for the first month. We signed a partnership with Ipsy to distribute 500K samples in the US. Annual revenues are expected to grow by 20% in 2019.
Please tell us about the challenger brand and how your campaign challenged / was different from your competitors
France is well-known for the excellence of its luxury industry. An industry that worldwide generates 92M tons of waste per year. As a niche player with way more budget constraints than major perfume houses, Etat Libre D'Orange needs to be really bold to stand out. We created I AM TRASH, the first and only perfume made from waste. By contrasting the brutality of its name with the delicacy of its scent, we reconciliated two opposite notions: perfume and waste.
Launched with visuals starring worms and decomposing trash, we challenged conventions of a typical «fine fragrance». While most PR in the category is generated by the ambassador that advocates the fragrance, our PR was organically around on the fragrance itself. Consumers were wearing much more than a good perfume; they were wearing a vision.