Critical Mass: Soap Hopes Scent Is Charmed

Launching a fragrance can be grueling. Failure rates are high; consumers are hard to captivate.

NEW YORK — Launching a fragrance can be grueling. Failure rates are high; consumers are hard to captivate.

But those challenges are nothing to Kendall Hart and Greenlee Smythe. Collectively, they’ve been shot at, hit on the head with construction debris and put into a coma, trapped in an underground shelter and stuck in a fire.

Hart and Smythe are, after all, soap opera characters and the fictional owners of Fusion Cosmetics on ABC’s “All My Children.” They can tackle just about anything.

Played by Alicia Minshew and Rebecca Budig, the two are launching their third scent linked to “All My Children.” The first two scents — Enchantment and Fusion — were exclusives at retailer Wal-Mart, and sold on

The latest, Charm All My Children, will launch at Sears on Monday. ABC already offers the scent on its e-commerce site. The story line has already teased the scent with Smythe telling Hart she devised the juice while Hart was out promoting her novel, also called “Charm!” The novel was “written” as a way to help Hart cope with her husband’s disappearance.

Pricing for the fragrance is $34.95 for a 1.7-oz. spray and $45 for a 4.5-oz. spray. When Wal-Mart launched Enchantment and Fusion, both were said to be among the top 15 fragrances sold at the chain.

Whether the fragrance makes the top-selling spot or not, the ancillary items bring attention to ABC’s “All My Children” and to the retailer stocking the exclusive. The novel made its debut at number 15 on The New York Times Best-Seller List. Bloggers are already talking about the fragrance — a fact that could bring shoppers into Sears for the launch.

“When fictional characters can launch real products, you know you have a strong franchise. We are leaders in creating ancillary product for program placement,” said Brian Frons, president, Daytime, Disney-ABC Television Group. “When products are integrated into the story line it enhances the existing emotional connection our fans have with the characters.”

The fragrance Charm All My Children is a sugar floral scent, including a mix of bergamot, black currant, grapefruit, star orchid and sugar cane. On each bottle of fragrance, there will be a limited edition Swarovski Crystal Moon Charm that can be added to a pendant or charm bracelet. The scent will be available as a fragrance, body splash, body lotion and shimmer powder puff. Charm! All My Children was developed for ABC by Cosmetic Specialties East Inc. In addition to Sears, the product will also be available at and

This story first appeared in the April 11, 2008 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

“All My Children” celebrated its 38th anniversary on Jan. 5. The program is still one of daytime’s most viewed dramas. Launching in tandem with the show is, in a sense, similar to a celebrity backing a fragrance since the items need little outside advertising to reach the customer base.

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