By  on July 1, 2005

NEW YORK — It wasn't unusual to spot beauty executives prowling the exhibit floor at last week's International Licensing and Merchandising trade show held at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center here.

That's because some of the brightest launches in the mass market over the past year, especially in fragrance, have been licensed names. Star deals with the likes of Celine Dion, Antonio Banderas and Jessica Simpson are prime examples of licensed success stories, as are cartoon characters including SpongeBob SquarePants.

A host of new licensed brands are soon to hit mass retail stores in hopes of igniting slumbering sales with high-wattage names.

Disney Consumer Products partnered with boom LLC to launch a scent behind Disney's popular "That's So Raven." The star of the show is Raven-Symone, who first came to fame as Olivia in "The Cosby Show," and now is a favorite female actress on the Disney hit show.

"Raven will be making appearances in stores starting in October," said Art DeGaetano, president of boom LLC. To date, she is slated for appearances in Orlando, Fla.; Dallas; Atlanta, and Bentonville, Ark. He added there will be a major print campaign, including scent strips, as well as spots on the Disney Channel.

DeGaetano thinks the current boom of celebrity scents will last, providing marketers pick the right role model. "If you look at the success of J.Lo, Celine, Jessica Simpson and Britney you see customers like the concept. Any one of us would love to have properties like those," he added.

The Raven fragrance will hit shelves in October and will include cologne sprays and a fragrance shimmer stick with prices in the $7.50 to $12 range. DeGaetano said this is just the beginning of a bevy of scents bowing from boom. "We have 10 fragrances planned this year and an equal plan for next year," he said.

Townley Cosmetics has the rights to cosmetics behind "That's So Raven." Both companies plan to do more cross-marketing behind the two lines.

Targeted to a slightly older girl will be a line backed by popular singer Ashanti. The powerful and stylish singer is expected to deliver a whole new audience to mass market fragrance aisles. Market reports are that the scent will make its debut at Wal-Mart and eventually will be opened to other chains.Another launch isn't backed by one name — rather by an entire television show. Following up on the success of the "All My Children" Enchantment launch, AMC Fragrances is readying the release of Fusion. While Enchantment was sold exclusively at Wal-Mart and developed a loyal following, especially with older women, Fusion will launch simultaneously at many mass doors. The fragrance is expected to lure in younger women. In keeping with satisfying a younger audience, the product includes a unique scent-plus-lip gloss combination. There are massive plans behind the launch of Fusion, including a plot in the storyline and appearances by characters from the smash soap.

These three products will vie for the consumers' choice against other established names expanding in mass such as Curious by Britney Spears, the family of Celine Dion scents, JLo, Spirit by Antonio Banderas for women and the Jessica Simpson collection. The latter has been such a hit at chains such as Brooks Eckerd Pharmacy and Walgreens that some retailers are reported to be working on their own versions of the sweet-scented and edible products.

At the licensing show, marketing executives were eyeing properties ranging from classics such as Strawberry Shortcake to reality TV stars such as Bo Bice and Kimberly Caldwell.

Will the celebrity bubble burst? Retailers said they don't think the end is near in the mass arena. Concluded one source: "I am just beside myself with happiness over the big launches I have for fall."

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