Celebrity fragrances "a joke," says perfume boss

Head of Salvatore Ferragamo's perfume division says celeb fragrances for "low-target" people
Celebrity fragrances
Celebrity fragrances are for "low-target" people, says Salvatore Ferragamo.
By Shane McGinley
Wed 09 May 2012 02:58 PM

The CEO of luxury Italian fashion house Salvatore Ferragamo's perfume division has hit out at the
trend for celebrity endorsed fragrances, dismissing them as “a joke”.

Each year, around 1,000 new
scents are launched and, according to market research firm Euromonitor
International, celebrity fragrances accounted for US$215m of US$5.3bn in sales in 2010.

The trend has taken off visibly in
the UK and US, with celebrities from Katy Perry to Kerri
Katona and from Bruce Willis to Bruce Lee launching signature scents.

However, Luciana Bertinelli, CEO
of Ferragamo Parfums, the fragrance division of Florence-based fashion house
Salvatore Ferragamo, dismayed the trend, claiming it is a
short-term money spinner for scent makers and celebrities.

“It is short term business. One
product, huge investment and huge media, and then disappear. It is just volume,
that’s it. It is a joke… It is for low target people. We are completely
different, our brand we have a history to tell,” he said.

“It is an Anglo-Saxon trend… it
is in America, the UK and Australia… It is not really in Europe… [or] in the
Middle East really. It is not so relevant, while in America and the UK they are
crazy for it,” he scoffed.

While fragrances by the late
Elizabeth Taylor, one of the first celebrities to launch signature scents and
one of the most profitable, generated US$54m last year, Bertinelli said Ferragamo
had decided not to use celebrities to front their scents and preferred to let
the brand speak for itself.

“We are one of the most important
and big companies in the fashion industry in the world. We sell a dream… The
Ferragamo family says the products need to speak so we don’t need a face… We
try to move more in this direction [using celebrities] but we still think the
product is the hero and the king of the brand.”

Bertinelli said he sees double
digit growth for the brand in the perfume sector this year and the Middle East
is one of its key markets.

For the launch of their latest
scent - named ‘Signorina’ - it chose four international launches, which
included Moscow, Dubai, Shanghai and New York.

“The Middle East is a different
world. We are active in this area and we are here to launch the new fragrances.
Dubai is one of the key pillars as there is huge potential in terms of spending
as people love luxury and love brands.

“We are seeing good results in
this area. It is still small to be honest but it is important. The Middle East
represents five or six percent [of customers].”

Founded in Italy in 1928,
Salvatore Ferragamo currently employs close to 3,000 staff and has a network of
550 outlets worldwide.

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