The scent of celebrity

Celebrity endorsement has reached an all-time high and every A-lister – and B-lister seems to be launching a label, a cosmetics line, an album, a lingerie line, a supermarket product, a sportswear collaboration, a how-to guide, jewellery, or the ultimate: their own perfume. From Paris Hilton to Scarlett Johansson, celebrities are fighting for star-struck consumers to ‘wear them’, ‘eat them’, and ‘smell like them’. With Christmas around the corner and consumer spending expected to reach an all-time high, celebrity endorsed products are making their way to store shelves at rocket speed this season.

So much so, that celebrities are fighting for shelf space at stores. 2006 sees a record of celebrity scents with as many as 37 endorsed having launched perfumes in the past few years, and the number keeps on growing. Everyone from Pavarotti to David Hasselhof to Elizabeth Taylor is targeting the celebrity-obsessed consumer to become a part of their intimacies. Perhaps this is the payback for our obsession with the private lives of celebrities, as the rich and famous strike very lucrative deals launching their own brands, even if the product isn’t always cutting edge quality.

This Christmas, you can surprise loved ones with scents from David Beckham, Hilary Swank, Desperate Housewives. And let us not forget Jennifer Lopez, the ultimate celebrity endorser. The actress is now also a designer with her own Sweet Face fashion label and a perfume.

The first celebrity to promote her own perfume was Elizabeth Taylor, back in 1991, when the actress launched the successful “White Diamonds” scent. The trend really gained momentum with the success of Jennifer Lopez’s perfume “Glow,” which was launched in 2002 and generated more than $80 million in sales in its first year.

Since then, the trend has reached fever pitch, with luxury beauty brands favouring famous faces such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Nicole Kidman and Catherine Zeta-Jones over models. For celebrities, product branding gives another allure and keeps their face in the media. For marketers, it is often an easy way to sell a product as celebrities are already well known. Eau de Stroppy Diva, anyone?

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