In the interest of full disclosure, I must admit that one of my favorite movies is Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown which stars a young Antonio Banderas. However, that is not why I dropped $5 on a close out celebrity fragrance. Rather, I had never tried a celebri-scent so it seemed like minimal risk for a blind buy. It certainly wasn't some delusion that, if I doused myself with an elixir implying to be the spirit of Señor Banderas, my wife would suddenly believe she was married to a Spanish film star. After a single test at home I started thinking about all the other things I could have done with $5 that would have given me more pleasure.
Until today Spirit had remained with the rest of my sad, unused blind buys. They beckon to me piteously each time I open the drawer where they reside like long forgotten residents of a rest home for the essence impaired.
When I spritzed on Spirit today there was a fleeting moment of promise when I caught a whiff of neroli and the accord of resinous frankincense and cinnamon. Then poof, gone. All that remained was a weak kneed remnant of the frankincense and cinnamon notes.
With the exception of some limited input, I doubt Antonio Banderas has much say in his fragrance line, so don’t go blaming him for this mediocrity. Well, except for the wheelbarrows of money he makes simply by lending his name to the line. Stars license their names to huge fragrance houses (I use the term “house” loosely) and in this case it’s the Spanish company Antonio Puig. More about that later.
If the creative arm of Antonio Puig had the courage to do something slightly daring with Spirit, like cranking up the neroli against a stronger version of the resinous, cinnamon base they might have been onto something. But business is business and Puig is in it to make money not take chances on creative gambles. So, like many masculine designer scents, chances are the resulting fragrance is the most innocuous formulation that tests well with company focus groups and will appeal to the average one time consumer.
Back to the question of how much a celebrity can earn licensing their name to a fragrance line. According to an article by Lilit Marcus in racked.com dated November 21, 2011, “A celebrity can expect to make between 5 percent 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.” As an example of sales potential, Ms. Marcus cites Britney Spears' scent Curious which "...achieved $100 million in sales in its first year alone.”
Did I say "wheel barrows of money"? There's the definition of "understatement."