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Jo Malone London Announce Tom Hardy as Ambassador

The Estée Lauder-owned premium fragrance house has signed a two-year deal with the actor in a bet to seize more of the men’s market.
A portrait of Tom Hardy
Hardy will be the face of the Cypress & Grapevine Cologne. (Courtesy)

Tom Hardy’s latest role has less car chases and explosions, and more whimsical encounters.

The British actor, known for his roles in The Dark Knight Rises and Mad Max: Fury Road, has signed his first beauty partnership, a two-year contract to be the face of Jo Malone London’s Cypress & Grapevine Cologne Intense, which retails at $160 for 50ml.

While Jo Malone London has had general brand ambassadors before, such as the models Poppy Delevingne and Adwoa Aboah, and even the actor John Boyega, this is the first time that they will have an official face of a fragrance.

This change in approach is part of a wider strategy to win over more male customers, said Jo Dancey, global general manager at Jo Malone London. “This will help us set a new ambition for our men’s business,” she said, describing it as a “pivotal moment” for the brand.

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Hardy was selected partly for his Britishness and associations with London, but also because of his popularity with both genders. “We [want to] reach both the solo male purchaser, but also the gift-giver as well,” said Dancey.

Hardy said he’s long been interested in fragrance, regardless of gender.

“I’m not sure there’s a code of conduct that exists... it’s simply about what makes you feel good, isn’t it?,” he said in an email to The Business of Beauty. “Personally, when I wear any fragrance, it has to have a connection to a sense of my own smell.”

To create the campaign’s 30-second ad, titled “The Exceptional and The Contradictory,” Hardy personally recruited the director Edward Berger, behind films including All Quiet on The Western Front, as well as enlisting his father, Chips Hardy, to write it. The spot will air on television through the US, UK and parts of Europe. Corresponding visuals, shot by portrait photographer Jack Davison, will appear in out-of-home placements in high-traffic locations such as London’s Piccadilly Circus and New York’s Herald Square, as well as cities like Harajuku, Seoul and Shanghai.

Hardy described the campaign as a “collective love letter to London.”

“[It] showcases all sorts of people crossing paths,” he said. “It’s all about celebrating those unexpected connections and the rich tapestry of stories.”

A Man’s World

A winning men’s fragrance would be a real boon for Jo Malone London. The world’s best-selling scent, Dior Sauvage, is marketed to men, and Dancey said by its estimates, men make up anywhere between 30 to 50 percent of the fragrance market. Plus, she said, it’s a faster-growing category.

That makes it an appealing space for Jo Malone London, which has a goal to double its own market share by 2027. Overall fragrance sales were flat in parent company’s Estée Lauder’s third-quarter earnings due to poorer performance of Estée Lauder’s own brand, but Jo Malone London’s net sales increased, with particular success in the US and Europe.

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The combination of the fragrance and the talent has been carefully calibrated — this is Jo Malone London’s moonshot at capturing a larger piece of the men’s market. The Cypress & Grapevine Cologne Intense, originally launched in 2020, is already a hero product, said Dancey, while Hardy’s universal popularity and more private, artistic image adds credence to the efforts. (It’s a formula that’s worked for other brands — the actor Johnny Depp has been the face of Dior Sauvage since its 2015 launch.)

While the brand’s fragrances are largely unisex, its customer base is around 85 percent female, according to Dancey. To attract more men to the brand, it is set to launch more products within the Cypress & Grapevine family, said Dancey, because men “tend to buy within a franchise.” Already, it introduced a hand and body wash in January.

“We’re a unisex brand, and we’re not moving away from that,” she said. “But what we’ve recognised is that we need to talk more explicitly and directly to men to make sure they’re aware that these fragrances that are relevant to them are in our portfolio.”

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