The Four Worst Factors in Fragrance Today, Part II
by, 25th September 2011 at 11:43 PM (12904 Views)
Continued from Part I:
4. Advertising and marketing budgets
Advertising and marketing costs represent a rapidly increasing proportion of all costs for perfume companies. Here’s a quote from a previous blog post of mine dealing with this phenomenon. The source cited was published in 2005, so we are more than six years on from these figures. Imagine what they might be today, with inflation and competition for markets!
Advertising budgets have seen a considerable increase with the entry of marketing into the lists, thanks to the lessons of Suzanne Grayson [the author refers to her earlier quotation of Grayson in the trade journal American Cosmetics and Perfumery in 1972: "It's no longer the product that plays the key role, but rather the marketing."] While in 1972 ten million francs were enough to launch a perfume, in 1989, the year marketing made its appearance at Guerlain, 50 million dollars were needed to launch Samsara. And this growth has not ceased to be pursued. Seventy to a hundred million dollars were swallowed up to launch Calvin Klein CK One in 1995. According to Eurostaf, an investment of 400 to 500 million francs were already needed in 1997 for a world-wide launch of a major perfume, and only 10% of this budget represents the perfume strictly speaking.
Jean-Pierre Petitdidier, a specialist in animal materials at Hasslauer, declared in 1999 that this percentage was perhaps even less. "The policy of perfumers is no longer at all what it used to be. Before, one prized quality above all. There was little publicity, no marketing; but now more than 80% of a perfume's selling price is represented by publicity and marketing. What smells in a perfume, the perfuming composition, represents only approximately 2%. In fact, there is 98% presentation, bottle, packaging, and all kinds of pretty stories, just wind. Call it what you like. So, from the moment that it accounts for only 2%, when you buy an eau de toilette for 80 francs, that's about Fr 1.60. If there's Fr 1.60 of perfumery product, one can obviously not put in costly materials. No rose, no jasmine, but rather inexpensive synthetics. And this development, which has existed for several decades, first of all affects animal materials, which are the most burdensome [in terms of cost]. [Annick le Guérer, Le Parfum: Des Origines à nos Jours. Odile Jacob: Paris, 2005; from the chapter "Le poids de l'économie" ("The Weight of the Economy") pp.249–250]. (Translation mine.)
There you go. What are we paying for? Perfume? Very little of it. The skill of perfumers? Their art comes cheap compared to that of the admen and market analysts. The irony of this would be droll, were it not so depressing to think of the reality. We pay them mostly to sell the stuff to us. Think about that.
And then tell me if you can think of any alternative, given the fierce competition and the overloading of the market with more than 700 new perfume releases last year. This might be a real-world case in which less would be more.
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