Celebrity Perfume: A Step too Far?

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Perfume: the substance that inspired a best-selling book and a hit movie. And now, as Christmas approaches, every celebrity with an ounce of capitalist sense will be on the look-out for a chance to launch their own perfume. Some have been around for years, others are new additions, and now even television shows are getting in on the act. Yes, it’s true: Hollyoaks has launched its own his-and-hers scents.

It’s not only soaps jumping on the perfume wagon, though. Children’s perfume-making kits have been around for years, and now, like most aspects of life, they are celebrity endorsed. This Christmas, your cousin or younger sister could be creating her very own ‘Hannah Montana’ perfume or even receiving the ready-made ‘High School Musical’ scent, ‘Light Up’.

The success of celebrity perfumes in the adult market is debatable, however. Of The Perfume Shop’s top ten female fragrances, only one celebrity perfume squeezed in: Christina Aguilera’s eponymous scent, at number 9. In the male top ten there were none at all. Elizabeth Taylor’s scent ‘White Diamonds’, however, recently celebrated its 15th anniversary as one of the best selling fragrances of the past decade. Is this really all that surprising, though? After all, who would you rather smell like—Paris Hilton, or a Hollywood starlet?

Celebrity perfumes do have their advantages, however. They are often cheaper than designer scents, with differences ranging from around £5-10 per 100ml. Celebrity perfumes are also available in smaller amounts, allowing for greater variety and cheaper prices. It could be seen, therefore, that the influx of endorsed perfumes is a leveller of the market, allowing people of all budgets to experiment with their scent.

I carried out a survey to determine popular opinions on the subject. While every participant questioned wore a designer fragrance for everyday use, almost all thought perfumes should be judged on their smell alone. Most replied that they would not buy a celebrity fragrance, yet every one would give the scent a chance if they were given it as a gift. It was agreed, however, that a perfume from a soap opera was one step too far. As one participant mentioned, “who would want to smell like Vera Duckworth?”

So, while the future seems black for soap opera perfumes—except possibly from the realm of pre-teen girls—in the case of celebrity scents it seems that brand only influences choice so far. At the end of the day it comes down to only one thing: what it smells like.