In many ways it is strange that selling perfume requires a great deal of TV and print advertising since you cannot smell it in either case. But perfume is not just a scent, it is something that media has associated with lifestyle, love, sex and personality. This is completely strategic and every successful perfume campaign begets a successful fragrance.
The Name Alone
Why does Britney Spears have a fragrance? Because her name alone will sell one. Chanel No. 5 is still one of the best-selling scents in history and it's all based on the idea Chanel created of an independent and sexy woman. Sure it smells good, but it would never have sold as Formula No. 5, which is where the name comes from. So to begin to sell a fragrance, the strategy is to find a name that compels a woman to buy it. Whether they aspire to be that person or they want to wear their clothing and accessories.
Strategy here is to decide who your market is and where they can most easily buy the fragrance. You can buy Elizabeth Taylor's White Diamonds in a drugstore or Wal-Mart because it's been determined that the people who buy and wear it shop there. Not true for a Marc Jacobs fragrance. And the price reflects where you can buy it. A wonderful-smelling cologne with no celebrity support and no designer name can be found for under £32. But if you want your scent to sell for £65 or more, you need to be in select department stores.
But nothing sells like a great TV commercial. This 30-second image can sometimes rival in budget and casting a small budget film. Currently Chalize Theron walks through a hotel room removing clothes one piece at a time for Dior's J'adore. That costs a lot of money to make happen and even more money to make it run during an episode of Grey's Anatomy. But time and again, unless the product is a stinker (literally) the profits from this kind of lifestyle and aspirational advertising can be more staggering than the cost.