The Cost Of Perfume Part 3 – Marketing

In part 1 of this series about the costs that go into creating a perfume we looked at the ingredients and in part 2 we looked at packaging. Today I’m going to delve into something that is a huge chunk of “where the money goes” for most large brands but can also be true for small ones too. That thing is:

The Marketing Campaign

fame-ladygagaSo you have the fabulous fragrance and the great packaging but in order to sell your product you need a marketing campaign.  Regardless of the size of your brand you have spend money on getting the word out if you really want to make great sales.  Of course if you are a huge brand with the budget for a celebrity face then you have the ability to reach a larger audience but it’s really all relative. Mainstream fragrance sales are a volume game so in order to sell the number of bottles needed to make a profit the reach has to be huge and make an impact in a really short space of time.  To keep our jaded palates interested fragrance manufacturers particularly those launching celebrity scents have turned to making short films rather than just a 30 second TV ad – Lady Gaga’s Fame fragrance launch in 2012 did this in her signature style that obviously appealed to her audience judging by the sales

Wow! FAME the fragrance had officially sold 30 million bottles and is the 8th most successful brand for the year! Thank you fashionistas! — Lady Gaga (@ladygaga) February 9, 2013

See the full ad series here:

Ad’s like this not only cost bucketloads of cash to make but there is also the cost of TV airtime, the teams of PR and social media staff, the public appearances and promo events, the magazine ads and loads of other stuff that goes on behind the scenes.
justin-bieber-the-key-filmMarketing campaigns have to fit the brand and speak to the target market – love or hate the little blighter Justin Bieber’s ad for his latest fragrance The Key does this amazingly well.  The message all teenage girls want to hear – “go to sleep with the perfume’s detachable key under your pillow and Justin himself will arrive at your hotel room door to feed you cake”  See the bizarre but highly targeted ad here:

Even the big budget campaigns that fall wide of the mark can be successful simply due to their reach and creating a buzz (no publicity is bad and all that)  as demonstrated by Brad Pitt for Chanel No.5 (yes That One!)


While Chanel keeps mum about its sales figures, the campaign seems to have helped boost sales at the end of last year. Senior beauty buyers reported that in the lead-up to Christmas more men were coming into department stores looking to buy classic Chanel fragrances – both Chanel No.5 for the women in their lives and men’s fragrances for themselves. The director of beauty buying at U.K. department store House of Fraser said the Pitt commercial “has changed perceptions among men of the brand as a whole.”   read rest of article here

So how does a marketing campaign work for smaller or niche brands?

If big budget adverts and celebrity endorsements are out then you’d better have a good story for your brand. You can get so much free exposure and press nowadays due to social media and beauty/fragrance blogs – newspaper and magazine journalists are always looking for content too.  One thing to keep in mind is your target audience – if you are going for high end luxe the “Take a Break” magazine may not be the one to approach.  What blogs do your ideal customers read? Who do they follow on Twitter?  Do you have great visuals that people would love to share on Pinterest?  Think about what you can do to create a buzz and make sure there is something unique and different in your branding – people are bombarded with information and imagery daily and as Jo Malone said recently in a talk I attended “Nobody needs another fragranced candle”.  You have to speak to a want and a desire not a need when it comes to marketing a fragrance.

One of my favourite independent fragrance launches recently was The 7 Virtues who worked really hard on social media to spread their message. They won awards and got loads of press too – all because not only was the fragrance branding unique (their tagline “make perfume not war”) but that their message was very relevant and heartfelt which captured the attention of beauty, business and mainstream press alike.

In Part 4 we will be looking at Distribution

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