Perfume marketing takes a raunchy turn

By Guy Montague-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Suzanne grayson, Marketing, Perfume

Sex and perfume have always been natural bedfellows, but in recent
years sexually orientated fragrance advertising has become more
explicit and pushed its way into unexpected territory.

The publicity garnered from the banned TV commercial for rap star Sean "Diddy" Combs' new perfume shows how advertisers are taking marketing to the edge in order to make an impact. The new fragrance called Unforgivable Woman is one of many recently launched perfumes that are promoted using sexually charged images. David and Victoria Beckham were photographed in what the Daily Mail referred to as a "semi-pornographic embrace" for the promotion of their new fragrance, Intimately Beckham Night. CosmeticsDesign.com spoke to Suzanne Grayson, a marketing consultant specializing in the beauty industry from Grayson Associates, to explore the trends behind the launches. "Straight advertising is not enough these days,"​ said Suzanne Grayson. "In order to reach the right people cosmetics companies need the extra edge." ​ Grayson said it was unlikely that the TV ban on Combs' commercial was planned but that the makers would have discovered a marketing strategy on the back of the publicity it attracted. The news of the ban on the commercial, which Combs described as "a little risqué", hit the headlines in the entertainment press and therefore, according to Grayson, ensured that the new perfume reached its target market perfectly. She said the commercial, which Combs released online after the ban, would be seen by its target audience and would only offend those who are unlikely to ever see it. Grayson pointed to Avon's "hook-ups" series as an example of a brand unexpectedly and successfully using sex in relatively explicit fashion to market its products. The marketing expert said the question that is always asked in advertising is "what is the end benefit?" and in the perfume and cosmetic industries that has always been sex. In the case of NARS' best selling blusher The Multiple Orgasm, the cosmetics company has successfully focused on the end of the end game.

Related topics: Market Trends, Fragrance

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