A-list status isn’t enough to drive perfume sales

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NPD’s Grant is curious how Madonna will fare. “She’s a mature woman so the younger generation might feel like she’s a little over the hill, but Madonna is Madonna and she has A LOT of fans. When you talk about the most loyal fragrance consumer, she’s over 50, and you’ll have to rip out of her hands whatever her favorite one is, so once you’ve got her, you have a better chance of keeping her. “

Buzz doesn’t necessarily drive an older woman, Grant adds, noting that Celine Dion has had many years of consistent, strong sales without too much splash.

A star with a story to tell through fragrance has a better shot, says Betsy Olum, general manager of beauty and merchandising strategy at HSN. Does the bottle design reflect the celebrity’s look? Is there a scent note that has a special meaning? Consumers want to know, and they’ll be able to pick out _ or sniff out _ the bottles that just slapped a boldfaced name on the front, she says.

On TV, Mary J. Blige, Jennifer Lopez and Eva Longoria all connected with home shoppers on TV in a way that a glitzy ad can’t convey, Olum says.

“When Jennifer Lopez’s mom came on with her, and then her sister texted in, even I wanted to buy the fragrance _ and I did,” Olum says.

She was equally impressed with Eva Longoria. “At the time we were talking about her second fragrance, and it already seemed near the end of `Desperate Housewives,’ and we had a discussion here, `Would people still be engaged?’” Olum says. “But she came on, and she’s one of the most beautiful women on the planet, and she said, `Don’t worry, I’m going to get on and be great.’ … And I was really impressed by how she came on and really told her life story. People really connected to her.”

Men take a slightly different approach in their celebrity fragrances than women, however, says Grant, since they buy more into image, using Sean “Diddy” Combs’ Unforgivable and Usher’s namesake cologne as examples of scents with the “sexy, bad-boy vibe.” Men are more aware of choosing a fragrance that will appeal to their romantic partners.

Current celebrity best-sellers, according to NPD:

Mass market (big box and drugstores), first quarter 2012:

_Women’s: White Diamonds by Elizabeth Taylor, Reveal by Halle Berry, Fantasy by Britney Spears

_Men’s: Unforgivable by Sean “Diddy” Combs, He by Usher, Soul 2 Soul by Tim McGraw

Prestige market (department and specialty stores), year-end 2011, most recent available:

_Women’s: Justin Bieber Someday; Wonderstruck by Taylor Swift, Reb’l Fleur by Rihanna

_Men’s: Unforgivable, I Am King by Comb’s Sean John brand, Usher VIP

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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