“The reality is people want a piece of something they can’t be,” says Eli Portnoy, a branding strategist. “They live vicariously through the products and services that those celebrities are tied to. Years from now, our descendants may look at us and say, ‘God, these were the most gullible people who ever lived.’"
— From Nothing Sells Like Celebrity in today's New York Times.
Maybe we can blame Lillie Langtrey and Pear's Soap.
I'm good with that. But must say, celebrity perfumes hardly seem like the most telling example of modern gullibility.
Gullibility is what the circus was all about–we WANT to dream, to hope, to be gullible. Isn't that why cosmetics are called “hope in a jar”? Or perhaps, we go with P.T. Barnum who said, “There's a sucker born every minute.” I'm for hope in a jar, myself.
gullible? Except for Sarah J. Parker who cares about scent. There aren't too many of us who care for every star that must have their name on a bottle. Not us. We treasure individuality and try to not be a little lambs. Perhaps teens and the insecure, seek to emulate a muse. But not us. It is hard enough to love a mainstream fragrance, let alone celebrity scent. Why else are they so cheap? So the bored masses can feel like Paris Hilton because she Can Can and does does. Sure who doesn't want to smell like a person who's famous for being famous and whose talent is marketing her lack of morality? No, these people are not gullible-they are a sad reflection of society; A world where family, values and role models are lacking; It is this and the lack of realisation of lost individuals watching exploitive t.v shows., that marks us as most gullible.
It is a bit disingenuous of Eli Portnoy aka “branding strategist” to say what he said in this article when the very job of people like him is to sell and package such fantasies to so-called gullible people…
The celebrity hook has been used for a long time.
Creed are no better – look how long they've been bragging about who wears their fragrances. Surely that's the first incidence of “wanting to smell like a celebrity”, the only difference being that you don't stick a celeb's name on the bottle. If you want to smell like Frank Sinatra did you wear Bois de Portugal.
There are lists online for who wears Gendarme – with many of those celebs not people who have their own fragrances. It's all part of the “worthy by association” tag that celeb fragrances engender.
Personally I have no celebrity fragrances, mainly because I don't need to live my life vicariously. If a fragrance was genuinely good I would wear it – I just haven't encountered a good one yet, although I hear good things about Carlos Santana's frag for men.
However, if it takes a celebrity fragrance to introduce people into the wonderful world of smelling great, is that really a bad thing?
I think what we object to in celebrity scents is the obviousness, the cynicism, and the band-wagon jumping. I don't for a minute think these people care about scent, they care about making money.
But I do think that to aspire is to be human. Linking scent to a 'celebrity' (even in these days when celebrity is a massively debased currency) is not at all new, as other posters have pointed out. For me, there is always something ineffably aspirational about scent. Wearing something by Chanel is a statement whether I admit it or not. 'Bois des Iles' smells of money, for instance, and that is part of its attraction, in the most poetic way possible. Jay Gatsby said of Daisy 'her voice is full of money'…there's something of that in all art, and that includes olfactory art.
Interesting you mention Boise des Iles. I encountered this for the first time last week in Selfridges. Wow, it's fantastic. I agree it's smells of money, but at £140.00 a bottle it should! lol. (I was curious as to why people rave about Cuir de Russie though. If I want to smell like a Chesterfield sofa I'll wear a leather jacket…)
I think you're right in that there is something aspirational in wearing a fragrance anyway. For me, it says something about the way I am feeling on a given day.
I do agree with the cynicism aspect too. But then, as alluded to earlier, some celebs DO genuinely have an interest in fragrance. If for example, I were to become a celeb, would people regard it as cynical if I produced a perfume – when in fact it is something of an ambition of mine anyway?
what fabulous, insightful and sharp comments. no wonder i love this site
love the reference to The Great Gatsby- smells like money indeed and given that J Lo made more money off her first scent than all her music and film revenue combined it is even more fitting.
If you're young and gullible, it's logical to try celebrity fragrances because celebrities are usually rich, and if some perfume is promoted by a rich person who obviously has access to the finest things, then it's probably good stuff. When one gets worldly and figures out that oftentimes celebs got famous by selling their souls, then one has learnt one of life's lessons. Think I'll name my scent Sinicism.
I'll take some hope in a jar too, LOL…just not Philosophy's version
The main difference w/ Creed is that they stick to dead celebrities, who cannot object, or sue.
Bois des Iles is genius. If your celeb scent smells that good, I will not be cynical about it
There is faulty logic in this article. People don't really think Eva Longoria uses L'oreal hair color. And if she does, some hairdresser making $200 an hour is applying it. And I don't know anyone who wears perfume they don't like. My mother (in her late 50's) does not own a bottle of J Lo Glo because of J Lo, she just likes the perfume. Savvy marketing, yes. Take a horse to water, yes…
That is probably true, but I'm always surprised by how many people assume that stars “design” their own fragrances. The vast majority probably are “somewhat” involved at most.
Yes, age plays a role here. Just today I heared a comment by a person in her twenties how she got interested -and bought a bottle ! – at Christina Aguilera's perfume because she thought Christina Aguilera's personality was interesting…
Yes, I am sure you are right about the lack of involvement. And that is disheartening. Also, there seems to be an influenza of celebrity perfumes in the past few years, which is a bit ridiculous. (I think it probably getting ridiculous enough for the average celeb-phile to roll their eyes)… But, I got a feeling from the NYT article that Mr. Portney seems to feel that America will buy anything just because a celeb is schlepping it and while I am sure it does help, you still have to have a product that appeals to people for them to buy it. If Angelie Jolie worked hand in hand with Demeter on the new perfume “Rotten Eggs”, I don't think you would find people wearing it around the town!