Celebrity Fragrances-Perfume-Cologne manufacturing and the fragrance fingerprint
Celebrity fragrances-perfume-cologne made their debut with a big splash with Elizabeth Taylor White Diamonds. The numbers of bottles sold are impressive and assure that many fashion designers will never come close to selling anywhere near that amount. The fragrance conveys the lifestyle and portrays the celebrity image and what they stand for. Why do some celebrity fragrances work and others fail? There is not an exact recipe for failure or success but there are mitigating factors.
The fragrance, of course, always trumps every other factor in a winning product. The celebrity is the medium to get the product to the public. If the fragrance is not good it will fail. Who decides the fragrance? I am sure the general public believes it is the celebrity. In most cases they have the final say, but who decides what are the initial and final samples they receive for evaluation? There are layers of influencers who want their fingerprints on the chosen fragrance.
The influencers and who they are: Licensor, licensee, agent, manager, family members, friends, perfumer, perfume evaluator, focus group, and fragrance experts. Working with celebrities can be very difficult. Some have attitudes and most have insanely busy schedules. Trying to pinpoint what a celebrity wants and choose a fragrance for them can be an immense task and is really the wrong approach. Yes, they have to choose a fragrance but it should not be what they want but a fragrance that everyone wants.
Most of the time, the person intermediate to the celebrity is a manager or “handler.” A handler can be the manager, friend, family member — someone who has influence with the celebrity. They are going to convey clear and decisive feedback on what the celebrity is trying to convey. Actually, they are usually not clear and have their own ideas about what they like, but some do get across the celebrity’s vision.
The licensee is going to have a large say in what happens. Sometimes it is a pure licensing company making calls and other times it could be a large management entertainment company such as CAA. The larger the company, the more fingerprints on the fragrance. The licensor is the company who is paying the minimum royalties and who is ultimately going to get the fragrance to market. They have a big stake in the game and they want a hit fragrance. Someone in marketing will take on the role of brand manager and they will have their fingerprints on the fragrance. Often if the celebrity is very popular or there is a lot of money on the line, they will pass the fragrance by the CEO/President for them to touch it and maybe leave a print.
The brand manager, along with the buyer, will contact fragrance houses for fragrance submissions. There are a number of fragrance houses so the buyer also has a large fingerprint on the fragrance. The licensee may already have relationships with the fragrance house and they may even suggest a fragrance house. The fragrance house is where the magic is made. Large fragrance houses have many perfumers and perfume evaluators on staff. Some of them are so large they will not even take on a project unless they can make big money. Hence, even Benjamin leaves a finger print. There are medium and boutique fragrance houses that are very capable and some that should stick to making incense. I have my own secret weapon of a fragrance house but trust me, this is the process where the magic is made.
Inside the fragrance house there is a fragrance sales person. This person has a larger fingerprint on the fragrance. This person has to get to the buyer or brand manager and convince them to utilize their company. It does not stop there; often they have influence over what perfumer who will work on the project. The perfumer is the creative master and one of the people who leave the largest fingerprint. I often say just let the perfumer make his print and create. Unfortunately, many perfumers are not good and are influenced by biases about making celebrity fragrances. Most would rather make fragrances for the prestige brands and not even be associated with celebrity fragrances. This bias also holds true for some of the fragrance houses. Most of the times I don’t tell the perfumer or fragrance house who the fragrance is for. If you tell them it’s for a teen pop star, more often than not the fragrance submissions will smell like cotton candy.
Fragrance houses and/or the company may hire a fragrance expert, commonly referred to as a “nose.” As stated in their title, they know what the customer wants. They have mythological status in some circles and are revered as fragrance gods. I am not so sure about that but they do have a following in the industry. Companies and fragrance houses often use independent testing panels. This is when they pull individuals off the street and ask them what they think about a perfume or fragrance. One of the last influencers that may leave a fingerprint is a store buyer. In my opinion, there are two major stores that have the ability to market and sell perfume, cologne, and fragrances to consumers in a meaningful way, and they are Sephora and Macy’s. The buyers in the stores are not going to tell you what to put in the bottle but they will have comments.
In the end, a fragrance will be chosen and make it to the store shelves, and the celebrity will represent it.
In the past I have worked for one of the most successful fragrance companies of all time, worked on numerous fragrance projects, and was CEO of perfume.com. I believe I have cracked the code of making a successful fragrance and I continue to leave my own fingerprint on fragrance, including celebrity perfumes. Hopefully, the celebrity is not just signing off on it and conveys the passion and desire to have the best fragrance ever. To make a winning celebrity fragrance, the process will navigate though many individuals leaving fingerprints. If they have the same passion and desire to make the best fragrance, the odds are higher for success, and a little luck can always be helpful.
Dangerous® utilizes celbrity endorsements to help get exciting perfume and cologne into customers possesion.