Scent of a famous woman: celebrity perfume on rise

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The Independent Online

It is not enough to read about them, dress like them and watch them on television; people want to smell like celebrities more than ever. Sales of star-endorsed perfumes have gone up 2,000 per cent since 2004, with more than 30 launched this year alone.

Figures from high street chain The Perfume Shop show that a rash of low-priced celebrity scents have come on the market this year, with bottles such as Katie Price's Stunning, and David Beckham's Instinct now making up 20 per cent of overall perfume sales.

In 2004, such fragrances made up about 1per cent of the company's total sales; now they are responsible for between 15 and 20 per cent of sales each week.

And they are targeting a new type of buyer. This is not the exclusive world of high fashion, nor that of elderly ladies stocking up on Chanel No 5; rather, the products are aimed at teenage gossip magazine junkies desperate to get their hands on their favourite star's perfume.

Some of the most successful fame fragrances have not been represented by glamorous models or actresses, but by the velour-clad army of reality television stars and footballers' wives. Beckham's heavily advertised Instinct aftershave is one of many celebrity-endorsed scents that encourage consumers to buy into the idea of a better lifestyle. The week it was launched in 2005, it beat traditional brands, such as Hugo Boss, becoming the best-selling men's aftershave. Julia Bolsom, the head of marketing at The Perfume Shop, said: "Using stars like Jordan and Jade Goody attracts a whole new group of people. They look at them and say, 'I could do that'. This year has been the year of the celebrity scent, with more celebrities than ever putting their names to perfumes and aftershaves which promise to re-create a small part of their lifestyle as an aspiration for their admirers and fans."

But the world of celebrity smells is fickle. When the former Big Brother star Goody launched Shh..., a 100ml perfume that cost less than £20, it stayed at the top of the best-seller list for four weeks. But after her racist remarks on Celebrity Big Brother caused public opinion to sour, sales plummeted and stocks were removed from the shelves.

Neil Barron, the director of Jigsaw ESL, a company whose perfumes are endorsed by gossip magazine staples such as Calum Best and Goody, says sales depend vastly on their depiction in magazines. "They are bringing perfume to people who can't afford Dior or Chanel, and widening the audience, but that also means that sales opportunities are quite short-lived. People don't want to buy a perfume once the media has turned on a star."

Sweet smells of success

David Beckham - Instinct

This formerly bestselling aftershave is supposed to have "notes of bergamot, orange and mandarin", but one blogger called it "truly nauseating".

Katie Price (Jordan) - Stunning

"One spray and you're stunning", says the glamour model. The wife of Peter Andre may seem an unlikely style icon, but her perfume, which hit the shelves this week, was already the second bestselling fragrance in Superdrug on Wednesday.

Jade Goody - Shh...

This perfume was a bestseller for four weeks when it was released, but after Goody's Big Brother embarrassment, shops speedily rid their shelves of it. One perfume blogger wrote: "It will probably smell like kebabs, stale fat and wee." But so far, more than 200,000 bottles have been sold.