Besides earning a living from making TV series, movies, albums and reality shows, celebrities make their money from endorsements. From Jennifer Lopez telling you that you are worth it in an ad about L’Oreal hair products to James Franco selling you the idea that your boyfriend should wear the same Gucci fragrance he’s wearing, celebrities lure us in with their good looks and fabulous sense of style.
Nowhere is the link between star power and beauty more apparent than in a celebrity perfume. Two weeks ago, I was given the opportunity to interview Mary Beth Mazzotta, Vice President, Regional Marketing Southern Hemisphere, of Elizabeth Arden. When it comes to marketing celebrity fragrances, Mary Beth is the person to speak to. Besides Elizabeth Arden’s skincare, colour and fragrances, she also takes care of the brand’s portfolio of celebrity, designer and lifestyle fragrances such as Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber and Nicki Minaj.
In this interview, we (MW) talks to Mary Beth (MB) about the magic behind celebrity perfumes and, if they really work.
MW: What is the marketing rationale behind celebrity fragrances?
MB: Celebrity fragrances are really hot! In the US, UK and Australian markets, the celebrity market is huge. Fans of a certain star really buy into the idea that they are owning a piece of their favourite singer or actress by buying a bottle of perfume fronted by them. Globally, the statistics show that celebrity fragrances sell. Besides just being a face that so many adore, celebs have a wide reach and this is marketing gold for any beauty company. Taylor Swift has some 37 MILLION fans on Twitter alone! When she had her concerts in the US and Australia, Elizabeth Arden sponsored it. And this gave her fans a chance to associate their favourite celeb with this perfume she’s fronting.
MB: First, you’ll never see the celebrity promote their perfume. You’ll never see Justin Bieber tweet, “Come buy my fragrance!” The challenge lies in how to use the celebrity’s clout on social media and keep the conversation going among their fans about this perfume that bears their name. When we launched Girlfriend, a Justin Bieber fragrance for women, it is a complement to his song “Boyfriend”. A fan can listen to Justin Bieber singing this song and think about wearing the perfume, which is the fan’s way of buying into a fantasy, a dream.
MW: How involved are the celebrities in the creation of their perfumes?
MB: Very! Before we work on the juice, we usually send the celebrity a fragrance brief, asking them questions about what they like, what their favourite memories are, etc. In the case of Mariah Carey, her fragrance brief mentioned how one of her favourite memories involved campfires, s’mores, going to fairs to eat cotton candy. We’ll then send them some test samples and work from there. After the juice is done, we will then work on the design of the packaging. Often, this step takes many rounds and we find ourselves constantly heading back to the drawing board to get it right.
MW: Which celebrity would you love to work with for his or her fragrance?
MB: George Clooney. Can you imagine interviewing him for his favourite foods, asking him to test the scents on your wrists … [laughs]
About The Author: Deborah Tan is a founder of Material World. After 10 years of working in magazines Cleo and Cosmopolitan Singapore, she is now a freelance writer/editor who works on this website full-time. She likes liquid eyeliners, bright red lipsticks, tattoos, rock & roll, Mad Men, and Suits. Her favourite notes in a perfume includes bergamot, mint, rose and leather. Follow her on Twitter @DebTanTweets.
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