Posted by Ana Terzi on October 29, 2010 11:30 AM
To keep a spooky momentum going on, how appropriate and timely it is to discuss brands capitalizing on the latest celebrity trend: Reincarnation by perfume.
The #11-ranked celeb in the Forbes 2010 Top Earning Dead Celebrities list has just released "his" first fragrance: Steve McQueen Eau de Parfum, a tribute to the American actor who passed away 30 years ago. McQueen’s brand equity is valued at $6 million, and his handsome mug already endorses watches, clothes, cars and motorbikes.
“Dead celebrities can do pretty much everything that they did when they were alive, with the technology we have today, except make a personal appearance,” explains Matt Delzell, a marketing account director with Davie Brown Talent, who specializes in pairing brands with celebrity spokespeople. “In the advertising world, these people are still very much alive. Brands are interested in dead celebrities because there is a more iconic feeling after someone passes away.”
When it comes to celebrity scents, brand marketers like to spin stories about the stars’ involvement in the creation process: how the compositions were tweaked a million times to produce a natural extension of their personalities, the inspiration behind the scents and what their favorite notes are. It is all part of the fragrance image building. But can this strategy succeed if the celebrity could only offer inspiration from beyond the grave?
Etat Libre d’Orange, a French niche perfumery, launched a Sex Pistols scent, an edgy and spicy unisex combination, infused with the same powerful synthetic chemical that put Chanel No. 5 ahead of its time in the 1920’s. The olfactory Sex Pistols equivalent is very much in line with the band’s rebellious image (while not reeking of cigarettes, sweat or worse) and aims to evoke the sense of chaos the punk rockers embodied. The band dissolved after bassist Sid Vicious died in the late 1970’s, making a mark in music history and elevating the band to iconic status.
Luxury house Dior jumped on the bandwagon this summer by update its 50-year-old men’s perfume Eau Sauvage with spots (above and below) featuring a young Alain Delon in St. Tropez, circa 1966. Dior Parfums stated, “We chose a photo from 1966, because it is the year of the creation of Eau Sauvage. This image has not aged and will allow us to reach both the men who remember Delon and younger customers, seduced by his rebellious and irreverent persona.”
Now, as the trend broadens and Forbes starts thinking ahead to next year’s dead celebs ranker, should we expect a Michael Jackson scent to make its debut by 2011's list?