Wednesday, March 24, 2010

What Sells? A Case Study

An astounding number of articles tackles the latest, apparently unexpected ~from what I deduce, since it makes such an impression~ phenomenon: Namely that a "celeboscent" really made it. (This term is short for "celebrity scent"; those fragrances eponymously launched by stars, supposedly inspired by their personalities and lifestyle, but in fact churned out by perfume producing companies with minimal involvement by the stars themselves). Trusted reportage says that this particular frag is selling like crazy! What is it? It's Heat by Beyoncé Knowles!

"At the recent Retail & Luxury Goods Conference at Harvard Business School, Macy’s CEO Terry Lundgren revealed that its already made more than $3 million in worldwide sales since its launch" [NB We're talking 3 months here] while he said that in an meet-and-greet with the singer herself "72,000 bottles of her perfume were sold that in that hour". To convert this in monetary values, Women's Wear Daily reported that first day Macy's sales made $60,000. (Talk about WOW!!) All to the point that "trying to pick up a bottle of “Heat” at Macy’ estimates over a month before it ships" now. "This morning I woke up and they told me the fragrance is the number one fragrance in America,” Beyoncé told Access. “I had absolutely no idea.” We're clearly talking about a huge commercial blockbuster. That made me think...

So the question arises: I am wondering whether the success has to do with the bootilicious sexy appeal of the singer herself (surely overall a positive role-model in today's celebrity world which is filled with human trash) or with the fragrance style and its perfect top-to-bottom design (corresponding so well to the celebrity herself, I mean, as celebrity brand expansion). Certainly it's not a "bootichouli" fragrance like we had suggested and hoped for on a previous occasion, at least going by the description, in which "Heat blends a floral mix of magnolias, neroli, and red vanilla orchids with the scent of almond macaroon, honeysuckle, nectar, and crème de musk" composed by perfumers Claude Dir and Olivier Gillotin. March on Perfume Posse observes that "Heat smells like a thin veneer of canned peaches in syrup over the most powerful, intensely animalic stank of unwashed ladyparts that I have ever smelled in a perfume, and I don’t mean that in a good way." Robin at NST on the other hand pegs it a warm fruity musk adding "I don’t find it even slightly sexy, and it isn’t what I’d call memorable, but it doesn’t much matter: it’s by Beyoncé and it isn’t a complete mess". Others report that real human testers (in Miami) perceive it as a cotton candy and amaretto fragrance. Take your pick!

Whatever it is, it's definitely a case-study for the heads at Coty (the perpetrator), Parlux et al. and for marketers everywhere. Expect more of the same very, very soon! And if fashion designers are "only worth as much as [their] latest collection's success", then celebrities will soon be worth the amount of their celebrity scent sales. Mark my words!


  1. It must be a mixture of the Beyonce and the product because the previous fragrances she fronted have bombed... perhaps the thing is Beyonce gets people to try and like something they wouldn't otherwise? if there is animal skank it sounds not unlike Vivienne Westwood Boudoir which is not for the faint hearted.

    Wouldn't a blind smell test be interesting- just unlabled vials with scents people love sans the Chanel logo, Beyonce ad etc. When they do it with cola the results are very interesting apparently...

  2. Hey the blog is good. There ar.e many qualities of perfume in the market.This is one of the best brands. I will try it. thank you.

  3. I think it's a mixture, like Rose said. This particular offering markets (and ramps up a notch) that 'safe' sex appeal that Beyonce has - it's not skanky but you can feel 'hot' if you are into celebuscents and want to emulate Beyonce (wonder if she wears it? I would bet not :-)

    I haven't yet smelled it. Do I have to? ;-( (I suppose I shall, lest y'all come and yank my perfumista card)


  4. I have a hard time buying into celebrity scents because they usually stink on me in a very bad way. I stick to my Chanel Cuir de Russie and Chanel Gardenia. Sometimes I will wear my CK Obsession in the winter.

  5. K,

    supposedly she said she was for the first time involved in how this was created (I assume not involved as in a lab coat, but she OKed the general concept, the colour scheme, the ad idea). So that does make you go uh huh, nodding the head in the top-to-bottom design (obviously it suits her much more than the Hilfiger scent)
    I can't vouch for the skank, personally. It would be nice though if a skanky would become a best-seller, who knows it might open up to the "bootichouli" scents I (we) was hoping for!

  6. A,

    I think you actually hit the nail on the head: I get the feeling that Beyonce is a gorgeous and very sexually appealing woman who would nevertheless rather get you (if you were a man) to meet her mama first than actually devastate you femme-fatale-style. Maybe that's the secret of her success? I doubt real femme fatales would be as popular in the States now.
    So the scent should have to match.

    I don't know if you simply have to smell it. What I know is that it being a bestseller you're bound to sooner or later, whether you want it (at the counter) or not (from passerbys). ;-)

  7. Eldarwen,

    thanks for stopping by and welcome, hope you like it here and drop often.
    Most celeboscents are hastily composed in order to make a buck when the star is still hot, before scandals ruin him/her, so I'm not surprised several of them are sub-par. We're not especially fans of the genre really either with a couple of exceptions (Deneuve for instance is spectacular!)
    I love two out of three of your choices! :-)

  8. I have really just have gotten into really finding out what smells good on me and what does not. I have left the Bath and Body Works stuff far behind and felt I needed to update my perfume choices.

  9. Smelled Heat from the bottle during a (rare, for me) fragrance-counter visit. Was *not* inspired to try it on skin, despite having a vague sort of approval of Beyonce herself. It was sweeeeeet, in that trendy dessert-ish sort of way, which doesn't suit me. It's not awful, it's just... too sweet. Which is popular these days, so I'm not surprised it's selling.

  10. Anonymous18:24

    i will venture into the fray to say that heat smells really good to me, and on me. it is sweet, yes, but not too sweet. i find it very femme - and it is what i call a "candied jasmine" on my skin. skin that makes MKK seem like a kitten, i might add, so your mileage may vary. if you know S by scherrer you will get a hint of the candied jasmine aspect of which i speak. there is only a touch of skank in this, OMS. i wish there were more.

    i think that if more people got to try this blind, without all the preconceptions we tend to heap on the "celebuscent" category, it would garner some fans. not knowing its origin we might not be so quick to toss it off, and might even think it came from a "higher-class" house. coty did a good job with this one.

    bottom line, it is not an insipid fruity floral, for which i am thankful. it makes me feel feminine and pretty, and the men i ran it past quite agree. it smells good on me. at the time i tried it, i was looking for something pretty and feminine. it fit my mood then and now when i want to feel that way.

    that said, i am positively swooning with delight over the vintage my skin that just arrived yesterday, and waiting for the right moment to spritz some on. just sniffing the nozzle is heaven. we can enjoy both, can we not?


  11. Anonymous18:28

    um, i meant to say, my sin. you know, by lanvin? :)



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