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Scents & sensibility


Global fragrances group Coty’s VP of marketing, Thomas Lalague, says you cannot fool Arab consumers


July 8, 2012 4:57 by

How do you market these celebrities’ products?

Endorsements in general and associations [between] brands and celebrities have been massively used, and not only by Coty. The first big success was Elizabeth Taylor. But we [have] relaunched the category. Today, it’s more difficult to draw the line between a celebrity fragrance, a celebrity brand and a celebrity endorsement for an existing brand, because it’s so widespread in all categories – fragrances but also fashion, accessories, cars, watches… – that I think it’s a must now. It’s another way to talk to people. A brand creates a universe, a territory, and has inspirational characteristics that people relate to; and then you have a more human, more personalized approach [through] the endorser, the celebrity. The relationship is more about how “I recognize myself in this person”. And in terms of PR, it’s also a way to get additional coverage and to bring a dif­ferent angle to your brand, to your launch, to your product – and to have someone involved enough to really become the spokesperson of the fragrance and bring some human touch in its development.

“Human touch” is a key phrase these days, part of the engagement process. But how to get closer to consumers by using a star when, theoretically, the star is supposed to be part of a different realm, keeping people in awe?

It’s the mix. Stars represent an inaccessible dream: they are you, only 10 times, 20 times better, and people look up to them; and, on the other hand, they still remain human beings. This contradic­tion, this mix helps us. Engagement is what we need. Celebrities, or endorsers, involve themselves and people engage them through various kinds of interactions – tweets, Facebook pages, virtual conversations and exchanges on the Internet. You add a dimension to your own marketing needs.

What is the shelf life of such products? Stars don’t remain stars forever and their shelf lives are getting shorter.

It’s true that sometimes, contrarily to a brand, a celebrity’s time at the top of the galaxy is short. But if you are clever enough, you may be able to turn your celebrity category into a real brand. Some personalities are so strong that they remain and become iconic, such as Elizabeth Taylor or Madonna. Others, such as Jennifer Lopez, suc­ceed in reinventing themselves quite regularly. Everybody believed [the] Jennifer Lopez [brand] would be short lived, but it’s not. On the other hand, some are short-lived and do not remain in the market after a few years.

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