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Creed Collaborates with Chinese Hip-Hop Artist Benzo to Breathe New Life Into a Classic Fragrance

Published July 16, 2023
Published July 16, 2023
Creed x Benzo

British French luxury fragrance brand House of Creed is no stranger to unconventional collaborations. Earlier this year, the heritage brand recently partnered with Chinese collectible toy brand RobbiArt to create a scented designer toy in celebration of the Lunar New Year. In June, Creed collaborated with Chinese hip-hop artist Benzo on a new song entitled "Creed," which pays tribute to Creed's iconic Millésime Impérial fragrance.

“When searching for a fresh collaboration idea exclusively for China, we discovered an incredible affinity with Benzo,” Sarah Rotheram, CEO of Creed, tells BeautyMatter. “His artistic background and genuine love for our brand made him the perfect fit for our first music collaboration.”

Creed tapped renowned digital artist FrankNitty3000 to design the cover art for the song, which debuted across multiple Chinese music platforms on June 20, and on Western music apps like Apple and Spotify on July 3. This is the brand’s first music collaboration, which adds another creative dimension to the innovative campaigns the brand has already done to date.

“Fragrance is a big part of my creative process because it has the power to evoke emotions and memories that inspire my music,” says Benzo of the collaboration. “Millésime Impérial makes me feel like anything is possible and reminds me to dream big and let the magic happen. I'm honored to have contributed my artistic vision to this collaboration. I feel that Millésime Impérial is truly representative of the aura of my power and hope my fans feel their power too.”

The cross-industry collaboration is the second innovative campaign from Creed aimed at the young Chinese luxury consumer. Since launching in China in 2020, the brand has taken a very strategic approach to marketing to Chinese consumers in the hopes of creating a cultural moment with these collaborations that resonates with a new generation.

“It was a natural choice to launch this exciting venture in China, where we can merge the power of music and fragrance in a way that truly resonates with our Chinese audience,” says Rotheram. “Together with Benzo, we aim to create a unique experience that celebrates creativity and the essence of our brand.”

The Millésime Impérial fragrance opens with notes of bergamot and blackcurrant, with warm sandalwood lingering in the base notes. Originally launched in 1995, the iconic fragrance is housed in an all-gold bottle and is clearly geared toward the luxury buyer. According to Boston Consulting Group, the average age of luxury consumers in China is 28 years old, which is about a decade younger than the average age of luxury buyers in other parts of the world. For Creed, this collaboration serves as a way to integrate its heritage roots into a new modern era.

“Through the fusion of various creative disciplines, each rooted in the common value of artistry, we strive to bring our three brand pillars—heritage, craftsmanship, and modernity—to life in exhilarating ways as the brand has done so through history,” says Rotheram. “By embarking on this collaborative journey, we aim to inspire and deeply resonate with our fans. This innovative approach allows us to amplify the essence of our brand and push the boundaries of our identity.”

Benzo is a popular figure on the Chinese social networking app Weibo with over 1.4 million fans, which is significantly more than Creed’s 38,000 fans. However, Creed has Benzo beat on Instagram with 178,000 followers to his nearly 15,000. According to Rotheram, this mutually beneficial partnership “could be the first of many more artistic collaborations” for Creed as the brand continues to expand its identity and reach the new luxury consumer.

“By integrating diverse artistic expressions, we create a compelling tapestry of experiences that captivate, inspire, and evoke a sense of wonder,” says Rotheram. “Ultimately, our goal is to forge deep connections with our audience and establish our brand as a beacon of creativity and innovation.”

“Paving the way for the next generation, we constantly strive to push the boundaries by working with innovative creators who bring new perspectives.”
By Giles Gordon, Chief Marketing Officer, Creed

Since launching the song in China, the reaction has been exceptionally positive. On the first day of launch, Creed x Benzo became a trending topic on social media. Additionally, the cover art was very well received, with many fans asking if they could have the album cover as GIFs or backgrounds. To create the digital cover art, FrankNitty3000 drew inspiration from the fragrance's essence and the cultural elements of both the brand and Benzo's music to create a series of eye-catching animations that were expertly shot by fashion photographer Rex Tsui.

“After closely following Frank's work for some time, we were struck by his ability to infuse focus subjects, such as Benzo and our iconic gold bottle, into mesmerizing digital artwork that seamlessly transcends various digital platforms,” says Rotheram. “His unique style perfectly aligns with our vision of creating a captivating and unified visual experience.”

Since the launch of the campaign, Millésime Impérial makes up 10-12 percent of the brand’s daily sales in mainland China and is likely to be the first choice for new customers.

Driven by artistry and founded on craftsmanship, Creed has long-standing relationships with farmers and growers around the world to source, research, inspect, and commission the finest ingredients for the brand’s perfumes. The high-quality natural raw ingredients are weighed, mixed, and macerated—in most cases by hand—in a small artisanal factory near Fontainebleau, France. The Creed x Benzo collaboration represents the brand’s commitment to original creative expression and working with creators from diverse artistic backgrounds.

“Paving the way for the next generation, we constantly strive to push the boundaries by working with innovative creators who bring new perspectives,” says Giles Gordon, Chief Marketing Officer of Creed. “Collaborating with Benzo, a uniquely talented artist, has been a thrilling experience.”

This unique partnership isn’t the first of its kind for the beauty world. Earlier this year, e.l.f. Cosmetics created its second original song, “Lip Positions,” to support the release of the brand’s O Face Satin Lipstick. Following a substantial influencer campaign, including a partnership with beauty creator Meredith Duxbury, e.l.f. encouraged TikTok users to post their own videos using the sound.

Like music, fragrance is an art form that evokes deep emotion and meaning. When paired with music, it makes a powerful impression on potential customers. The Creed x Benzo partnership upholds and expands upon the brand’s rich heritage and high-end brand image. After Kering Beauté’s acquisition of Creed late last month, we can expect to see more strategic campaigns targeting the Chinese consumer as well as further expansion of the fragrance portfolio into body and home categories.

To compete in today’s crowded marketplace, luxury brands have to find new ways to recreate the prestige that their brands were founded on and communicate that heritage to new consumers. Unconventional partnerships with major and up-and-coming figures in art, music, fashion, and culture will continue to play an increasing role in fragrance marketing in 2023 and beyond.

“Creed” is available to stream now on all music platforms.


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