It seems like people are always talking about Lady Gaga, but right now, the buzz is focused on something other than a catchy new single or an outrageously over-the-top outfit. The singer’s first fragrance, Lady Gaga Fame, is hitting stores now, and all signs point towards it being a huge success. Why? Here are the Top 10 reasons Beauty Insider predicts it will fly off shelves, with insight from a conversation with Steve Mormoris, Senior Vice President of Global Marketing at Coty Beauty, the company behind this intriguing collaboration.
1. The juice is truly unique…and black, at least in the bottle. In a fragrance industry first, the scent starts out looking a bit like thin black ink and turns clear once it’s sprayed on skin. “That was very challenging to do technologically, to create a stable, alcohol based fragrance that went from black to clear,” said Steve, who added that the standout color was Gaga’s idea. Of course, the color black fits in perfectly with the singer’s overall image–and her musical message about the dark side of fame–plus it’s also intriguing enough to get consumers curious.
2. The fragrance releases itself in an untraditional way, thanks to so called “push-pull technology.” Instead of a typical pyramid structure–with base notes as the foundation– the Fame scent diffuses itself on skin more arbitrarily, with an less uniform drydown of its various notes. As Steve puts it, “It’s almost like, if you were going to a restaurant, this fragrance is sort of a random smorgesborg of food that shows up at your table and eventually you’ll get something that you like, whereas most fragrances are like a pre-fixed dinner and you’re just basically given a menu and you try it.” In testing the product, Coty found that consumers smelled the notes they most liked amongst the mix.
3. Essentially, the scent’s combination of notes–a heady mix of dark, moody and light–has something for everyone. “We created a fragrance that crossed many fragrance families,” explained Steve. “It’s a floral, fruity, woody fragrance with some interesting notes like apricots and belladonna, incense, leather dipped in honey. There are many different fragrance families melded together to create a fragrance that smells great.” In other words, the formula is complex and a bit unexpected–and, actually, very wearable, particularly as it begins to get cooler outside.
4. The packaging is eye-catching too: a hefty egg shaped glass bottle (that appears black, thanks to the inky-hued juice inside) topped with a gold claw that’s equal parts Goth edge and classic dressing table elegance. “It’s aesthetically quite beautiful…and when you see the whole package, it looks quite disruptive, but it also looks timeless,” observed Steve.
5. Gaga was hands on in the development of the fragrance, which was two years in the making. “In this project she was very involved and had very, very groundbreaking creative ideas,” Steve explained. “I was impressed at how artistic and poetic she was in her ideas; she had a very well defined conceptual side, which is good in marketing. She’s able to creatively articulate different themes around a concept: a color, a shape, a technological device. She was very involved in that, probably more so than many of the celebrities we work with, and it showed me that basically she’s a craftsman.”
6. Lady Gaga’s fanbase is incredibly broad–Steve said it’s people aged 12 to 70–and the fragrance hopes to cast a similarly wide net. (Prices for the fragrance range from $19 for a 10 ml rollerball to $79 for a 100 ml bottle of eau de parfum.) In development, the fragrance was blind-tested internationally by a diverse range of potential consumers, with an overwhelmingly positive response, according to Steve.
7. Overseas sales in markets where the fragrance has already been released have been extremely strong. In the U.K., for example, Lady Gaga Fame became the top selling fragrance at the Superdrug chain within a week of its release. And sales were brisk at last month’s pop-up store in Tokyo.
8. The marketing is edgy but–particularly coming from a singer that specializing in pushing people’s buttons–not overly provocative. “We did have internal debates: do we show a nude Lady Gaga, do we show a non-nude Lady Gaga, do we talk about sex?. We all netted out that in the end we should have an overriding classic feel,” Steve explained.
9. Lady Gaga Fame stands out amongst the many other celebrity fragrances in stores. “It’s not like other celebrity fragrances,” Steve insisted. “It’s not really about her, it’s more about a message and a concept she’s embracing. You could call it the ultimate political fragrance because it’s really about this idea of fame and the dark side of fame and experiencing that in something that you wear.”
10. The fragrance has two powerhouses promoting it: Coty and Lady Gaga herself. “In the end, Lady Gaga is very aware of her desire to reach a broad audience and touch people with her art,Steve said. “For Coty as a business, this should be one of the biggest fragrance launches in history.”