The rich and famous have turned the public obsession with their lives into a highly profitable industry, with 37 celebrity scents flooding onto the market in the past 3 years and no sign of the trend coming to an end.
This year, in the run-up to 2006's big spending season, another 23 new celebrity scents have so far joined the pack, launched by the likes of actresses Hilary Swank, Jennifer Lopez, English footballer David Beckham and even television's Desperate Housewives.
"It seems to be what the consumer wants," said Mary Ellen Lapsansky, executive director with the Fragrance Foundation, which tracks fragrances in the United States.
"Celebrities drive everything today. They endorse everything from wrist watches to you name it."
Out of 205 new fragrances launched in 2005, there were 23 celebrity scents, according to the Fragrance Foundation. That is up dramatically from 2004, when eight celebrity scents were launched, and 2003, when six launched.
"It's definitely becoming more mainstream. We do see that the celebrity fragrances do seem to resonate more with the young consumers," said Karen Grant, senior beauty industry analyst with market research firm NPD Group.
"We are definitely seeing that the brands that have had a strong celebrity alliance have done extremely well in the marketplace, whether it is to get initial awareness or revitalizing a brand."
Last year, celebrity fragrances represented almost a quarter of the top 100 women's fragrance brands, up from 10 percent in 2003, according to the NPD group.
Elizabeth Taylor is said to have been the first celebrity to successfully put her scent in a bottle, in 1991, when she launched her "White Diamonds" perfume.
But the trend really gained traction with the success of Jennifer Lopez's perfume "Glow," which was launched in 2002 and generated more than $80 million in sales in its first year.
Since then, the trend has reached a fever pitch, with perfume counters surrounded by ads featuring famous faces including those of actresses Gwyneth Paltrow, Nicole Kidman and Catherine Zeta-Jones.
For celebrities, product branding gives them a new line of income. For marketers, it is often an easy way to sell a product because celebrities are already well known.
"The marketing effort does not have to be as strong, because the celebrity already comes with a fan base," said Kenneth Hirst, founder of design firm Hirst Pacific, which designed one of Jennifer Lopez's perfumes, "Still."
"Celebrities cross borders. They have fans everywhere."
But celebrities also carry a risk, with their faces becoming liabilities when they fall out of public favor, encounter personal problems or are not seen to reflect the brand.
When Madonna was the face for Versace, consumers' perception of the brand fell 7.3 percent, meaning they were less likely to buy a Versace product, according to research firm Brand Keys, which studies brands.
"What you got with Madonna is someone who as a performer is always reinventing herself," said Brand Keys' president Robert Passikoff.
"For a performer that is a good thing;, but as a standard bearer for a certain set of values, it's extraordinarily schizophrenic, and that is what happened with Versace."
Image: BRAZIL, Sao Paulo: Hotel heiress Paris Hilton presents her own line of perfume 14 September, 2005 at an exclusive shop in Sao Paulo, Brazil during a launch party dedicated to her favorite color – pink.