08/12/2011 08:36 am ET Updated Oct 12, 2011

Expert: Michael Jackson Fragrance Won't Connect With Fans

Celebrity perfumes and colognes make up a surprisingly robust sector of the fragrance market, so it’s no wonder that everyone and their uncle wants a piece of the pie. But while fragrances have worked wonders for the likes of Jennifer Lopez, Britney Spears, Justin Bieber and Tim McGraw, it just won't work for everyone.

We recently learned that a fragrance is in development for the late Michael Jackson -- a strange move, according to industry experts.

“In the celebrity world, we make deals with fragrance houses using the image of a celebrity built on their lifestyle and the impression they have created,” Michael Flutie, the brand manager behind the creation of Tim McGraw’s fragrance house, told The Huffington Post. “To try to create a fragrance [around] someone who has passed away with a controversial story when that controversial story is still in the press with a lot of negative connotation is dangerous and won’t work.”

It’s not too much of a secret that celebrity fragrances can act like an ATM for famous people -- they essentially pay high dividends for very little investment of time or money. A celebrity can expect to make between five and 10 percent of the sales for licensing their name to a scent, in addition to an upfront payment between $3 million and $5 million.

But what about fragrances from the dearly departed?

Theoretically, deceased stars could sell fragrances as long as the marketing is slick and well-executed, but the real obstacle is creating a desire for intimacy with the star. According to experts, even Jackson’s biggest fans will have a difficult time cultivating that needed intimacy with the late singer.

Intimacy, according to Flutie, is the number one factor that causes a consumer buy a fragrance -- and you simply can’t build that kind of intimacy with someone who is no longer physically available.

“I think that if it were a winning business model the large marketers -- the Cotys, the Estee Lauders -- would have already attempted to create iconic fragrances with people like Elvis Presley or James Dean. You can’t imagine someone will create a fragrance for Amy Winehouse,” Flutie said. “At least I hope not.”


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