NEW YORK, N.Y. - To witness the odd power of celebrities at the fragrance counter, look no further than two of today's top women's perfume stars: One is a teenage boy. The other, deceased.
Justin Bieber's women's perfume Someday is one of the top sellers in department and specialty stores, and White Diamonds, the scent launched 20 years ago by the late Elizabeth Taylor, tops in big box stores.
But for every Bieber, there seems like there's an A-lister who fails to garner buzz when it comes to fragrance. Jennifer Aniston, anyone?
The most successful celebrities to splash their name across a fragrance bottle speak typically to a niche audience, often one that's an older or younger consumer.
"The ones that do well have a strong following with a strong core audience," explains Karen Grant, beauty industry analyst at market research firm The NPD Group. "Liz Taylor has almost a cult following, and Bieber is the same thing. He's all about tweens and the moms getting it for the tweens."
Celebrity fragrances also are particularly "giftable" items, Grant notes, because if the receiver is a fan, you're going to get the "ooh," at least when he or she opens the box.
Bieber was a bona fide hit and briefly bumped perennial favourite fragrances Chanel No. 5 and Coco Mademoiselle out of the top sales spots last year. Later this month he'll be honoured with the Elizabeth Taylor Fragrance Celebrity award from the Fragrance Foundation. With Taylor Swift and her perfume Wonderstruck, the two young stars revitalized the celebrity fragrance business, up 57 per cent in sales in 2011.
From looney to lucrative, here are some top Hollywood-created scents.
Though she recently passed away, Dame Elizabeth Taylor still holds the title for the bestselling celebrity branded perfume since the launch of White Diamonds in 1991. Distributed by cosmetics company Elizabeth Arden, White Diamonds reached $61.3 million in sales in 2010. That figure doesn't include sales from Taylor's nine other fragrances, which will be kept on the market.
The New York Yankees shortstop hit a real home run with his first branded product, launched in 2006. Driven, which is sold by Avon, was ranked the second bestselling celebrity fragrance in 2010 by Euromonitor, with $27 million in sales.
The singer/actress continues to capitalize on her mounting fame with a fragrance launch in 2010: Heat earned Beyonce the number-three spot in sales, earning $21 million last year. She recently launched a second fragrance: Pulse.
Music mogul and entrepreneur Sean Combs can list fragrances as one of his most lucrative ventures. Diddy, who markets the fragrances under his Sean John label, has launched four scents for both men and women, including his bestselling Unforgivable cologne, which raked in $18 million in sales in 2010, tying for fourth place alongside the next three celebs.
Actress Sarah Jessica Parker has launched nine different fragrances, including her first -- Lovely -- in 2005. Parker recently capitalized on her <em>Sex And The City</em> fame and launched SJP NYC, which took in $18 million in sales in 2010.
Jessica Simpson has had no problem supplementing her income since her musical career died down. Besides her clothing and hair extension collections, Simpson's fragrance Fancy is one of the top sellers in the celebrity scent market, making $18 million in 2010.
The singer and musician added fragrances to her Harajuku Lovers line of clothing and accessories in 2009. The dozens of scents -- which amounted $18 million in sales in 2010 -- come packaged in bottles modeling Harajuku dolls, a shopping district in Tokyo famed for its unique style.
The performing artist launched his own line of self-branded scents in 2007 with He and She versions of Usher. The cologne is listed as one of the top sellers in celebrity fragrances in 2010, with $16 million in sales.
Even in times when her career registered below the radar, Jennifer Lopez could rely on her fragrance sales to keep her aloft. Glow, her first scent, raked in $47 million in 2006 alone. In 2010, Glow claimed $12 million in sales, not accounting for Lopez' 15 other scents on the market.
The actress teamed up with Avon for the launch of her signature scent In Bloom in 2009. The fragrance, which is considered a "premium" scent by Avon, sells for $34 a bottle and brought in $12 million in sales in 2010.
While her life may have seemed on the fritz the last few years, don't be fooled. Spears is a self-branding expert, and her best venture comes from her line of ten fragrances, including the first, Curious. The scent earned $100 million in sales in its first five weeks after its 2004 release. Perhaps more alluring than the scents is the line's whimsical and seductive ad campaigns.
The singer, who had one of the highest grossing tours in history, isn't really hurting for cash. But with as marketable a name as Dion, fragrance giant Coty tapped her large fan base and created 14 fragrances around her brand. As of 2010, Dion grossed over $850 million in global retail sales of her line.
The June 2011 launch of teen sensation Justin Bieber's first fragrance, Someday, broke records, posting <a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/fashion/justin-bieber-fragrance-omeday-shatter-celeb-scent-records-best-seller-2011-article-1.158891" target="_hplink">$3 million in sales</a> in three weeks at Macy's Herald Square alone. If "The Biebs" knows one thing, it's how to cause a complete consumer frenzy. If the craze continues, analysts project the scent to be the bestselling of 2011.
They're everywhere! Ever expanding her brand, socialite and reality TV starlette Kim Kardashian launched her own line of fragrances in 2009, including Kim Kardashian and Gold. The star encountered some unexpected competition, though, when sister Khloe launched her own fragrance, Unbreakable, this year.
This seductive movie star may seem an unlikely player in the fragrance business, but Antonio Banderas is apparently somewhat of a perfume mogul. Of late, the star has released 15 different fragrances, including The Secret and Spirit VIP for both men and women.
Manufactured by fragrance giant Parlux, Hilton's fragrances have been on the market for a while and are starting to see a gradual decline in sales as public interest in the socialite dwindles. Still, Hilton's fragrances claimed 42 percent of Parlux's $148 million in net sales in 2010.
A fresh face in the branding world, rapper 50 Cent released his first fragrance, Power by 50 Cent, in 2009. He has since expanded his personal brand, including nailing a huge Vitamin Water endorsement deal and releasing his own brand of high-quality headphones.
In arguably one of the most unexpected career moves ever, actor Bruce Willis launched his own fragrance in 2010 through German beauty company LR Health and Beauty Systems. The company was quoted claiming that the fragrance was "the manliest scent in the world."
Although not endorsed by Twilight stars Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart, TwilightBeauty.com took it upon themselves to create a signature scent based off of the alluring smell of character Bella Swan, which Twi-hards know is what initially roped in vampire Edward. Immortal Twilight, released just before the film's fourth installment this fall, is sure to see sales, thanks to a rabid fan base.
Why? Why not! That seems like the marketing strategy behind every branded product the Jersey Shore queen hocks. Snooki by Nicole Polizzi went on sale Black Friday, with a preview sale on HSN in which the product sold out. Determined to make it personal, <a href=" http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/11/snooki-fragrance-perfume-scent-pickles-celebrity_n_1088423.html" target="_hplink">Snooki told HuffPost Celebrity that she experimented with pickle scents</a> before nixing it, claiming, "it was gross."
One of the big new launches this spring is Madonna's Truth or Dare, and Rihanna's Reb'l Fleur has been a strong performer, too.
The successes, say experts, combine celebrity involvement, personal appeal, lively fans and a good "juice," industry lingo for the actual smell.
Madonna, at an event to celebrate Truth or Dare at Macy's last month, said she thought long and hard about what her signature scent would be, ending with a floral formula that includes a note of tuberose, which is also prominent in the perfume Fracas by Robert Piguet — a favourite of the pop star's. "I wear Fracas myself and I've been wearing it for years and years and years, and I try other perfumes all the time, and I always come back to it. And I know the reason I always comes back to it is because it reminds me of my mom."
She wears perfume all the time, Madonna added. "I spray perfume on me, myself like a crazy person. Nonstop. Never want to smell bad."
Rafael Villoldo, Vice-President of Perfumania, which has deals with Rihanna, 50 Cent and Kim Kardashian, says the celebrity has to buy into the product wholeheartedly. "You have to look at what they stand for. I won't do a fragrance with someone who has said they hate fragrance or doesn't look like someone who'd wear fragrance."
Next, he thinks about potential customers and distribution, and he'll check out how active the celebrity is on social media because, he explains, no one can get shoppers excited about a product like its namesake.
"Look at the Kardashians. They don't sing, dance or act, other that the reality show, but you look at Kim, and she has 15 million Twitter followers," Villoldo says. "If I put on a hat that we think looks funny, it's a funny looking hat, but she'll have 15 million people considering wearing that hat — that's power."
Still, he says, that only gets you so far with a fragrance. There has to be quality to get consumers to buy into a brand for repeat purchases. The Paris Hilton line has had unexpected longevity, says Villoldo, who typically hopes for a five-year run with a celebrity, but Hilton has proven a tireless promoter.
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 favourite 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 bestsellers, 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