“She’s zeitgeist in a bottle,” Coty Inc. CEO Bernd Beetz said of Lady Gaga last month to WWD during an interview about the superstar’s first perfume, Fame. Beetz, whose company licenses the fragrance, is likely not surprised by how popular Fame has already become, even though it wasn’t released in stores until today. Unlike some celebrities who slap their name on any ol’ bottle of whatever, Gaga has always seemed genuinely invested in developing and marketing Fame. It is her own Haus Laboratories, after all, that worked with Coty to create the scent’s signature black color. Gaga, whose official partnership with Coty began almost two years ago, has been publicly enthusiastic (and controversial) about the project from the beginning, and, over the past few weeks, even managed to fit in a series of international appearances to promote the scent during her world tour. Much more than for most, Fame appears to be a real labor of love for the singer.
Nothing about Lady Gaga just happens, though, and this fragrance is no exception. From the perfume’s bottle (inspired by the singer’s 2011 Grammy “egg” entrance and photographer friend Nick Knight) and its “black water technology” (patent pending) to the sleek, almost NSFW promotional video produced by film director Ridley Scott and shot by Steven Klein, the launch of Fame was orchestrated with precision–and with all of Gaga’s millions of Little Monsters in mind.
Because celebrities have such large social media presences — especially Lady Gaga, who currently has more than 53 million “likes” on Facebook and almost 29 million followers on Twitter — the consumer-transaction potential for a product that almost anyone can afford ($42-$79, in this case) is extremely high. What we know from the research in our Digital IQ Index: Fragrance report, however, is that celebrities’ fragrance pages on these platforms are relative ghost-towns. As you can see in the image above, even Lady Gaga’s fragrance page failed to launch, amassing a paltry 3,160 “likes” over several months. In our research, we discovered that on Facebook, celebrities’ personal pages (whose average Facebook “likes” are around 8.8 million) hadn’t mentioned their fragrances in over 120 days. Lady Gaga did slightly better than this, having last mentioned Fame (the video, though, not the perfume itself) five days ago on August 17th. But today, the day of its release, the singer posted twice, neither update having anything to do with her fragrance.
Also nowhere to be seen on Gaga’s Facebook or Twitter pages: a link to any one of the dozens of retailers selling Fame online as of today. This easy to avoid omission, unfortunately, aligns with what we found during our data collection. On Facebook, celebrities link to e-commerce options for their fragrances just 50 percent of the time–significantly less than owned brands and other licensed brands, who do so 76 percent and 83 percent of the time, respectively.
Fame may already be a viral success (especially on YouTube), but only time will tell if the hype translates to retail success. With Lady Gaga’s access to tens of millions of eager fans across the world — not to mention her demonstrated investment and belief in this fragrance — she would be well-advised to leverage her influence more effectively via social media channels.