In 1991, Elizabeth Taylor launched a perfume called White Diamonds. She was not the first celebrity to do so, but yes the first successful. Since then, sales of the legendary Hollywood actress’s fragrance have exceeded two billion dollars.
However, celebrity fragrances remained virtually unknown. until 2002the year it appeared Glow, the first perfume of the singer and actress Jennifer Lopez. This fruity mix in a pink bottle “changed everything,” according to the New York Times aroma critic Chandler Burr. In just one year, the perfume became one of the best-selling products in the US market, amassing $100 million in sales.
Suddenly, all the celebrities had their own fragrance: Taylor Swift, Beyonce, Justin Bieber, Jennifer Aniston… Some, like Britney Spears, they even began to accumulate them: the singer has 33 perfumes to her name. First, Curiouswas launched in 2004 in collaboration with the cosmetics company elizabeth arden. In 2013, the British newspaper Daily Express stated that a Spears fragrance was sold every 15 seconds, and in 2012 the also British Daily Mail stated that Jennifer Lopez made more money with her fragrances than with his music.
Perfumes have one of the highest profit margins in the entire beauty industry. In a recent article by Harpers Bazaar, tania sanchezauthor and fragrance expert, explains that “a product like this is mainly a dilution. The actual perfume oil in one of these fragrances is probably worth no more than a few pounds.”
Spanish women smell like celebrities
The famous Spaniards are not far behind. on the talk show The resistance, David Bustamante he declared that his perfumes sold out every thirty seconds. “I am a perfumer who sings”he said smiling. According to the singer, these products are successful because they are “good” and “cheap”.
Bustamante work with puigthe Spanish group that has developed the most celebrity perfumes, including those of Malú, Aitana, Marc Márquez, Paula Echevarría or Antonio Banderaswhich launched its first fragrance in 1998. devil It is defined as “a provocative perfume with which to fall into the temptation of an irresistibly diabolical seduction”.
The perfumes of these Spanish celebrities range between four eurosprice for which Muy Mío can be purchased, one of the fragrances of the aforementioned singer-songwriter, and the fifteen. The price differences are marked above all by the packaging. For example, for 13.49 euros you can buy a case containing Aitana’s latest perfume, 1999and a fragrance for hair.
But, apart from the prices, What is the reason for the success of these fragrances among consumers? “It is a sum of associations and expectations. It is the suggestion of thinking that something you do not know is going to be good because it is carried by a specific person,” he explains. Sandra Iruela, who is behind the perfumes of personalities such as David Bisbal, Sara Carbonero or Eva González. “On a commercial level it is very important to make sure that there is an important target that allows the product to be successful,” she adds.
for Cotywhich was the responsible for launching Glow and that has come to control 80% of this business, the key to success lies in “achieving maximum collaboration with the celebrity in question.” Sandra Iruela explains that she carry out olfactory tastings in which he presents different notes of perfumes, essences and top, heart and base notes, and Gregory Alone, Puig’s perfumeralso states that there is teamwork with celebrities.
crisis and rebirth
However, in the mid-2010s, fan confidence plummeted; they were looking for authenticity, and they doubted that their idols were really behind their fragrances.
By way of illustration, in 2014 Elizabeth Arden recorded losses for the first time In this sector. The company, which in addition to the perfumes of Britney Spears sells those of Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift, Mariah Carey or Nicki Minajfaced the biggest four-month decline in its history and a overall drop in sales 13.4% compared to the previous year. The company did not hesitate to point out celebrity fragrances and, specifically, those of Bieber and Swift as the main culprits. Something smelled rotten in the business of celebrity perfumes.
Until, in 2017, another change occurred. reality star kim kardashian He launched his first perfume and, in a week, he ran out of stock. The oldest of the Kardashians directly marketed its perfume through the Internet, which means that no one had smelled it. Kim Kardashian was actually selling an image.
“We are veryaccustomed to buying things by sight and not because of the smell”, explains Sandra Iruela, “but it is necessary to work with the five senses. Everything is important and there has to be coherence. is what we call sensory marketingl”. Even so, he acknowledges that the image is currently being worked on a lot.
The celebrity begins to be associated not only with the aroma, but also with the container itself. The evolution of perfume bottling Shakira demonstrate this change. The Colombian singer entered the world of fragrances with a rounded bottle in 2010, took the form of a guitar with Rock! in 2014 and ended up recreating the movement of his legendary dance with dancingin 2016.
The social networks have contributed to that thrust of the image. It proved itself kim kardashianwith 304 million followers on Instagram, and was seconded by Britney Spears when, after announcing her third wedding engagement through this social network last September, sales of her perfumes skyrocketed.
The playing field has changed, and it has in more ways than one. From the narrative point of view, he is no longer committed to glamor and sex. Now the focus is on the personal, environmental activism or inclusivity. Thus, Cristiano Ronaldo’s latest perfume, CR7 Originsis inspired by the aromas of his childhood in Madeira and the campaign of God is a womanthe fragrance of the singer Ariana Grandehas made an effort to ensure that the product is 100% vegan and free of animal cruelty, and that 91% of its ingredients are of natural origin.
With these changes, the perfumes of the famous are experiencing a Renaissance. But despite its renewed success, currently they are not the ones that register the most sales. Sandra Iruela reports that they are the big names in the world of fashion the ones that are most in vogue.
“There is no fashion designer who does not have a perfume, as Paco Rabanne, Carolina Herrera or Adolfo Domínguez. Some even earn more from them than from clothes. Maybe you can’t afford a suit Carolina Herrerabut yes a perfume”, explains the perfumer.
Puig’s financial results, which were published on April 4, confirm this trend. In the fashion and fragrance category, Puig registered an increase in sales of 41% compared to the previous exercise. Specifically, the launches of Phantom from Paco Rabanne, Scandal pour Homme from Jean Paul Gaultier either good girl from Carolina Herrera. And a study by Stanpa (National Association of Perfumery and Cosmetics) reveals that luxury perfume concentrated in 2021 sales of 20 million units and a growth of 33%which makes this category a “market driver”.
As Iruela sums it up, “perfume culture is closely associated with celebrity and fashion.” In the end, we always come back to Hollywood glamorand that Marilyn Monroe who, in 1952, declared to Life magazine that, in bed, the only thing she wore was Chanel No. 5.