Like many celebrities before her, Nicki Minaj is releasing her first fragrance this fall. What might be perceived as “selling-out” in another genre of music, is actually a rite of passage for a commercial pop star — once your image becomes marketable enough, you cash-in on a vast array of endorsements, including clothing lines, beauty products, and yes, celebrity fragrances. It’s just what happens. And because so many celebrities market their own fragrances, it’s hard to look down on any star who wants a piece of that scented pie. But why is the fragrance market so appealing to a pop star?
Most budget fragrances are made from oil that costs roughly $30 per kilogram. One kilo of oil gives you enough material to manufacture about 100 50 ml bottles of your fragrance. With packaging, mass-manufacturing, and marketing expenses factored in, your unit price can be lower than $1 per bottle. When you can charge upwards of $50 for a bottle of this size, it leaves fragrance companies a lot of room in their budget to secure the endorsement of a celebrity, whose image alone can ensure the fragrance sells. In other words — having your own fragrance is a major pay day for famous people.
Many celebrities are wise to the viability of the fragrance market — Britney Spears has released 5 scents, Paris Hilton has 9, and Lady Gaga intends to make money on a perfume that smells like blood & semen later this year.
Let’s look at the marketing materials of 20 pop star perfumes, and get a sense of how this whole celebrity fragrance business really smells.
Fragrance Name: Reb’l Fleur
They Say: “Bad feels so good.”
We Say: Fair enough, but bad still smells bad.
What it probably smells like: “Sex in the air, I don’t care / I love the smell of it.”
Fragrance Name: Circus Fantasy
They Say: “Where nothing is what is seems.”
We Say: Maybe if your fantasy involves being poked and prodded by circus carnies in a bouncy castle.
What it probably smells like: Cotton Candy & Carny B.O.
Fragrance Name: Someday
They Say: “Never let go, with the new fragrance that gives back.”
We Say: Someday will never come, unless you promise to give my money back.
What it probably smells like: Essence du Pube (pubescence) & a middle-schooler’s locker.
Fragrance Name: Heat
They Say: “Catch the fever.”
We Say: Probably not a great idea to align your product with catching an illness. Especially when you spray it all over your body.
What it probably smells like: Tylenol & Neocitran
Sean Combs (Diddy)
Fragrance Name: Unforgivable Woman
They Say: “Life without passion is unforgivable.”
We Say: “Denying my advances is unforgivable, woman!” – Diddy, in the poster above, as he attempts to literally rape that woman.
What it probably smells like: Rohypnol & Ciroc
Fragrance Name: Lollipop Bling
They Say: “Three irresistible flavour inspired fragrances: Mine Again, Ribbon, and Honey.”
We Say: Con: Children will definitely consume this. Pro: their poos will smell like honey.
What it probably smells like: A trip to the hospital.
Faith Hill / Tim McGraw
Fragrance Name: Soul 2 Soul
They Say: “Two fragrances. One love story.”
We Say: I’ve heard of matching his & hers bath towels, but this is just ridiculous.
What it probably smells like: Sawdust & Sweet Tea. And southern pride.
Fragrance Name: S by Shakira
They Say: “A light full of energy, sensuality, and good vibrations that perfectly reflects Shakira’s essence.”
We Say: Ugh, someone open a window, it smells like Shakira’s essence in here.
What it probably smells like: A belly-dancing class.
Fragrance Name: Because Of You
They Say: “It celebrates the renaissance of extreme femininity and power of spontaneous emotion.”
We Say: Hey, don’t blame this on us. It takes two to tango.
What it probably smells like: The tears generated by a teenager’s first heartbreak.
Fragrance Name: Glow
They Say: “Fresh – Sexy – Clean.”
We Say: Show me a perfume you can describe as “Stale – Ugly – Dirty” and I’d buy it just for the novelty.
What it probably smells like: Febreeze & Hand Sanitizer
Fragrance Name: Truth or Dare
They Say: “The unique blend of narcotic florals, balanced with addictive woods and vanilla, create a scent that is timeless yet modern, simultaneously dark and light.”
We Say: Narcotic florals, eh? Be careful ladies, if you leave this in the bathroom your kid brother might try to smoke it.
What it probably smells like: Weed & Nutmeg
Fragrance Name: With Love
They Say: “With love…Hilary Duff.”
We Say: All celebrity perfumes should be titled based on how the star finishes emails. “TTYL :P” by Pop Hunter, for example.
What it probably smells like: Pickles & Ice Cream, to match Hil’s recent pregnancy cravings.
Fragrance Name: Wonderstruck
They Say: “The beginning of something magical.”
We Say: Wonderstruck sounds like the name of a disease where you’re constantly surprised to be winning awards.
What it probably smells like: Freshly baked banana bread & surprised farts.
Fragrance Name: Phoenix
They Say: “Phoenix is infused with blackberries, cognac and plum and can be described as having a ‘woody oriental’ fragrance.”
We Say: Heh, “woody oriental.”
What it probably smells like: Hair Straightening Solution, Suede, and a rub & tug massage parlor.