How Your Good-Looking Celebrity Faves are Chosen for Designer Perfume Ad Campaigns

Top Row (L-R): Tyson Ballou, Eva Herzigova, and Tony Ward
Bottom Row (L-R): Claudia Schiffer, Naomi Campbell, and Noah Mills

There is an inherent paradox built into fragrance advertising, which is the notion of persuading the consumer to buy a product whose essential function can’t be conveyed, seen or felt through a broadcast spot or a page in a magazine. Since Audrey Hepburn professed her devotion to Givenchy’s L’interdit in 1957, celebrities have steadily appeared in fragrance ads, although highly-paid supermodels would pose for these brand ads as well. Today—as is also the case with fashion magazine covers—actors, actresses and musicians have supplanted models as the favored currency to act as the face of a perfume.

But what makes a famous face the right one to align with an established scent? How significant is the correlation between what the celebrity represents and what the brand’s identity is? Are fragrance companies increasingly tapping celebs because they have had a recent blockbuster film, or a growing Twitter following? In a $3 billion industry, the stakes are high enough to warrant scrutiny.
Karen Post, branding expert and founder of The Branding Diva, points to three significant factors when a brand chooses a celebrity to endorse its scent: the ability to “evoke the right emotions based on the brand strategy,” credibility that is aligned with the fragrance, and a capacity to “engage beyond just appearing in a print ad or a broadcast ad.” This last aspect comes into play when a celebrity is active on social media and brings their own built-in following to the partnership. Post adds, “It used to be that building a brand was all about paid media, but now equally important is earned media through social media and publicity.

For a perfume brand, capitalizing on a famous face who has made recent headlines or topped the box office charts is something of an easy choice, as the increased visibility is an added bonus for the scent. Marian Bendeth, global fragrance expert and founder of the Sixth Scents consultancy, thinks that a celebrity’s Q rating is much more significant than a brand will admit: “I think [brands] scour the entertainment websites to see whose name is getting a lot of hits.

Casting a fragrance ad can prove trickier than merely signing the hot face of the moment, as perfumes aim to strike a balance between their already established brand identity and the need to remain relevant. “If a face and a name doesn’t fit with the brand, the consumer sees it right away,” affirms Catherine Walsh, senior vice-president of marketing at Coty Prestige. But often the unexpectedness of a celebrity fragrance endorsement can be intended. Karen Grant, vice-president and global beauty industry analyst at NPD Group, says of late, “There has been more of a willingness to mix it up. It keeps [brands] in the news. We wouldn’t be talking about them if they’d just picked another model.” Here, we look at eight recent celebrity fragrance deals that at first blush felt incongruous to see if they pass the sniff test.


The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo star has embraced that titular character’s punk, hard-edged aesthetic, and is often spotted out on the town in looks that are dramatic and edgy. So the choice of Mara as the face of Calvin Klein’s newest fragrance is somewhat puzzling. The brand has a sleek, minimalist appeal, so perhaps this is an attempt by Mara to evolve her style in a softer direction and for Calvin Klein to target a more youthful consumer. Post notes, “If you look at her history of movie—she’s got a lot of horror films, she was in The Social Network—she skews young.” And Mara is not yet overexposed.


The star of Captain America and The Avengers certainly has proven box office chops. Though he doesn’t usually appear on any worst-dressed lists, Evans isn’t getting a lot of positive press for his fashion choices either. Grant supposes his casting was “a question of being very current—he’s adding some of that Americana appeal.” It might not be the most obvious choice, but perhaps Evans will employ his superpowers to boost sales of the scent.


Last year, Seyfried starred in Les Misérables as Cosette, as well as the small thriller Gone. Though she is not quite a household name yet, Givenchy is betting that this starlet is on the cusp of breaking out in a big way. Bendeth thinks this brand alignment is on target, stating, “She can be sexy, but she has an innate demure quality about her. It doesn’t surprise me that Givenchy picked her up. There is a sexy innocence in all their girls,” pointing to former face of the brand, Liv Tyler. We’re sure Seyfried’s 100,000+ Twitter followers don’t hurt either.


It feels counterintuitive for a man to front a woman’s fragrance, but that didn’t stop Chanel’s marketing team from signing Brad Pitt as the face of the iconic perfume in 2012. He starred in a series of widely-mocked broadcast ads that Bendeth calls “a very curious campaign.” Chanel signifies classic elegance, and Pitt’s rugged appeal felt like something of a disconnect for the storied house. However, Post notes, “If you look at Chanel both in fragrance and fashion, they do things that are unexpected and out of left field (see: hula hoop handbags). And that’s part of their strategy in creating a lot of buzz.” Love them or hate them, the television ads got people talking.


Stewart, who is a self-professed introvert and appears ill at ease during press appearances, is a surprising choice for Florabotanica. While she was quite close to former Balenciaga designer Nicolas Ghesquiere and often wore his designs, the house has opted to keep her on with the arrival of new head designer Alexander Wang—despite the fact that Wang is an admitted supporter of Liberty Ross, the model who had been married to director Rupert Sanders, who Stewart had an embarrassingly public affair with during the filming of Snow White and the Huntsman. However, perhaps the $2 billion success of the Twilight movies trumps any personal scandal. Grant conjectures, “I think they’re going for the celebrity who will add credibility but is attainableshe’s within reach.”

The rest of the celebrity endorsers for designer perfumes at the ( SOURCE )

Perfume party post! What are your favorite perfumes/colognes/body scents that you always use, ONTD?

This post is also dedicated to the fabulous Judgmental for her continuing work in providing her fellow brothers and sisters in ONTD with exciting beauty/makeup posts.