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Celebrity Scents: Are They Worth It?

Posted by: Jim Law, on: Wednesday, 14 January 2015

It has been said that a perfume should be an extension of who you are. Of who you want to be, even probably. It should show or at least let people smell who you are.

Celebrity fragrances, as its name implies, are obviously crafted and mixed (ideally) the namesakes themselves. Same as a personal scent is an extension of your identity, celebrity fragrances also are—of the celebrity.

But why do these celebrities do it? What is in it for them?

It’s all about the money

Almost all celebrities, from 50 cent to Annette Benning to Beyoncé, has their own. The only difference is whether they do sell.

First of all, everything nowadays is all about the money. It is a generalisation, but let’s face it, majority of celebrities, especially those who are into creating their own scents, are just in it for the money.

But it does make sense for these celebrities. Because in the long run, once your face has already faded from the movie theatres or TV screens, you could still be raking in a lot of money.

Take Britney Spears, for example. A decade after she rose to fame, she suffered a public meltdown and ended up shaving off her own hair. Despite of that, or probably even because of it, she was still making money. And it absolutely had nothing to do with her music. She has sold over a billion dollars’ worth of perfume. It’s actually a possibility that a huge chunk of her net worth comes from her various perfumes.

Celebrity names does not equal success

Not all celebrities who have their own scent are making dollars off of it. Because let’s face it, would you even buy a scent from Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi?

A celebrity fragrance will not always sell. Its success is due to a perfect combination of celebrity involvement, celebrity fanbase, and of course, if it actually has a pleasing smell. Shelly Smyth, CEO and co-founder of fragrance distributor SAS & Co., says, “Celebrities must be at the peak of their popularity when launching fragrances.”

Paris Hilton, for example, is operating under a low profile especially in recent times. However, her line of fragrances is surprisingly still selling. This unexpected longevity is due to her tireless promotion of the line. Her first fragrance was released in 2004 and 11 years later, she is still tweeting about it.

Fanbase is key

If you are a public personality, not even a celebrity anymore, one must consider whether anyone will be interested in your product. People must be convinced of buying into your product.

Ivanka Trump has recently launched a fragrance. But who is she and why buy her perfume? Fragrance expert Marian Bendeth, owner of consultancy Sixth Scents, said that any person can have their own fragrance now. But what makes a perfume sell is the persona of the celebrity. Givenchy, for example, is proud of its Audrey Hepburn perfume as Hepburn personified elegance and beauty.

Consumers fed up?

During the 4th quarter of 2014, Elizabeth Arden sales weren’t just worrying – it was alarming. It says a lot about the limits of celebrity name – slapping on perfumes and colognes.

The company actually admitted where and with which products they went wrong. “While the company had expected weaker sales comparisons due to the lower level of fragrance launch activity in fiscal 2014 versus fiscal 2013,” the company revealed, “the decline in sales of celebrity fragrances, particularly the Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift fragrances, was steeper than anticipated.”

Elizabeth Arden is no newbie to the celebrity fragrance business. They have previously sold perfumes of Marilyn Monroe, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Elizabeth Taylor. So why the trouble with Bieber and Swift? Is it simply poor marketing strategy? Or is it something else entirely?

Of course, one cannot rule out the possibility that these celebrities are just not that interesting anymore. But there is a more troubling trend—something that should trouble the celebrities at least: celebrity saturation.

In the end, as a consumer, regardless of whether these celebrities launch scent after scent after scent, consider how it affects YOU.

You wouldn’t wear a scent by someone you don’t want to be associated with, would you?

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