The Army “is one of the most unique brands on the market right now,” said Jasen Wright, director of brand management for the Beanstalk Group, a licensing agency that works for the Army (and Paris Hilton). “Consumers have a strong affinity and a great pride for what the U.S. Army stands for. . . . Retailers — Wal-Mart, Target — know it is very attractive to consumers, and they want to make sure they have it on the shelf.”
Which means the market for these products is almost anyone: young boys smitten with G.I. Joe, high schoolers who want to enlist, veterans and their family members, anyone who wants to display his or her patriotism.
What makes the military brand so great is its “elasticity,” Wright said. “You can put it on apparel or on a toy, and that helps from a brand marketing point of view.”
Pink plus cammo
Roxanne Reed got the idea for a line of women’s accessories after attending an event for Marine Corps wives that let them do their husbands’ jobs for a day.
“I saw all these amazing colors,” she said. “I thought it would be a cool idea to have spouse gear — something for the spouses — that would embody the pride of what our husbands did.”
That’s when it hit her: What the world needed was a camouflage handbag with pink-trimmed ruffles and a dog tag ID badge. Thus, the Cammio-a-Gogo was born.
The company, Jane Wayne, took off, and soon she was making Tough ’N’ Tiny backpacks, which “hold your child’s treasures in military style,” and Deployment Blues candles, whose “fragrance has a masculine cologne aroma to remind you of him while he’s away from home.”
A lonely wife could also perhaps spray a little Marine Corps cologne, called “Devil Dog,” to evoke memories. There is also “Patton,” a scent that Army officials said they are in the process of licensing, which “defines masculinity with a sensual, woodsy fragrance.”
“If you smell the fragrance, and you thought about it, you could probably guess which branch it would work with,” said Eli Zafrani, a vice president at Parfumologie, the California company that manufactures the colognes. “Everybody has a tie in some way to someone who has been in the military, and it’s a nice way to pay your respect.”
So how do they smell? Pretty good, at least according to Stephanie High, who works at the L’Occitane en Provence boutique in Georgetown and was asked for her expert opinion.
“It’s light, not too strong,” she said after smelling “Devil Dog.”
“Patton,” by contrast, is “sweeter” and “stronger.”
“Stealth,” the Air Force cologne, “is a little more delicate,” she said. “It could be unisex.”
But, ladies, even if the cologne could be worn by a woman, there is no need go out and buy it. Parfumologie is thinking about creating a feminine line of military perfumes, which could soon be coming to a store near you.