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The Math on Celebrity Fragrance: Do They Still Add Up?

By: Jeb Gleason-Allured
Posted: May 23, 2012, from the June 2012 issue of GCI Magazine.

This article originally ran in the Industry section of the February 2012 issue of Perfumer & Flavorist magazine. All rights reserved.)

This year marks the 10th anniversary of Jennifer Lopez’s Glow (Coty), the success of which helped inspire a six-fold increase in celebrity scent launches over the last decade—to mixed results. Today, five of the top 10 fragrances in the United States are celebrity branded or endorsed, according to Karen Grant (NPD), the opening speaker for The Fragrance Foundation’s recent “Celebrity Fragrance Balance Sheet” event in New York. And so, wondered moderator Rochelle Bloom (The Fragrance Foundation), is it clear that the industry is getting a return on its investment?

The minus side: The number of celebrity scent launches outpaces those of conventional brands by a factor of nine. Inevitably, said Grant, this has led to clutter and diminishing returns overall. In 2011, celebrity scent sales grew by 5%, while the whole market was up by 10%. Celebrity scents now make just 30% what they did in 2002 and 55% what they made in 2008.

The plus side: Since 2002 celebrity fragrances have brought in $1.3 billion in sales, said Grant. And the hits have kept on coming. In 2011 prestige fragrance sales were boosted by Justin Bieber’s Someday (Give Back Brands) and Taylor Swift’s Wonderstruck (Elizabeth Arden), while the original celebrity blockbuster, Elizabeth Taylor’s White Diamonds (Elizabeth Arden), remained the overall top mass fragrance.

The conclusion: Celebrity fragrances add up—if handled properly.