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Curious (fragrance)

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Fragrance by Britney Spears
ReleasedSeptember 14, 2004
LabelElizabeth Arden
TaglineDo you dare?
Flanker(s)Curious: In Control - Curious Heart

Curious is Britney Spears' first fragrance, developed in partnership with Elizabeth Arden and launched in 2004. Created by Claude Dir, it debuted in the United States in September 2004, followed by a global release in March 2005. Curious received widespread acclaim. It became the top-selling fragrance of 2004, with sales exceeding $100 million.[1] By 2011, Elizabeth Arden had sold over 700 million bottles of the fragrance.[2] Experts attribute part of its success to Spears appeal, acknowledging that she 'made it cool to wear fragrance' among young women.[3]


Initial reports of Spears partnering with Elizabeth Arden surfaced in March 2004. Media sources indicated that the first product under Spears' name would be a fragrance, with plans for subsequent releases in color cosmetics and skincare, although these were not anticipated for at least two years. In an interview with WWD Thursday, the singer said, “I love perfume and cosmetics and am so excited to develop my own line with Elizabeth Arden”.[4] Spears' collaboration with the beauty brand extended beyond mere licensing of her name. Paul West, President of Arden, emphasized that the singer actively participated in every stage of the fragrance's creation, from conceptualization to development of the juice, packaging, and marketing strategies. He revealed that Spears had already contributed ideas for bottle designs and suggested olfactory notes for her scent.[5]

The launch of the fragrance was announced in June 2004 in a press release confirming that Curious would be released that fall. In the statement, Paul West, president of Elizabeth Arden, described Spears as a “talented, fashionable woman who appeals to a young and international consumer base”.[6] The fragrance was set to become a part of the prestige product lineup of the cosmetics and fragrance company, with plans for distribution to select high-end department stores that did not typically stock Elizabeth Arden-branded products, including Nordstrom. Spears joined the company's roster that already included two other notable celebrities: Catherine Zeta-Jones, representing the Elizabeth Arden brand, and Elizabeth Taylor, overseeing fragrances with her name. However, Spears targeted a younger demographic, aiming at individuals aged 15 to 30, in contrast to the demographics targeted by Taylor and Zeta-Jones.[7]


It’s so great that all of you are here today to help Elizabeth Arden and me [and] my fragrance Curious go global […] When we were making it, we knew it was something special.[…] It’s really nice to share something so personal and special with people that I really love, with my fans and everyone who wears it, and now I’m very happy that everybody around the world can enjoy it [8]

-Britney Spears on the global launch of Curious.

The official United States launch of the fragrance took place in New York City on September 14, 2004, at the Four Seasons Hotel and at Macy's. Besides her fans, the singer was joined by Arden chief executive Scott Beattie, executive vice president of global marketing Ron Rolleston and vice president of global marketing for fragrance Tamara Steele.[9] Speaking about the fragrance, Spears stated, “It's very sensual smelling, with a hint of vanilla musk, but not overly sweet. It's very sexy [...] It's amazing. I'm very excited about it”.[10]

The global launch of Curious occurred on March 18, 2005, at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in New Orleans, Louisiana, Spears' home state. Fans from various countries—Australia, Germany, Italy, Japan, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, and Ireland—who won special contests in their respective countries joined Spears during the launch. Regarding the success of the fragrance's initial launch in the United States, Scott Beattie, chairman and CEO of Elizabeth Arden, stated it was a testament to the appeal of the scent, packaging, their innovative marketing techniques, and the influence of a celebrity like Britney Spears on a glamorous product category.[11]

Scent and packaging[edit]

Crafted by Claude Dir of Quest International and Ann Gottlieb of Ann Gottlieb Associates, the fragrance blend pays homage to Spears' Louisiana roots with top notes of Louisiana magnolia, complemented by golden Anjou pear and dewy lotus flower. The heart of the fragrance features tuberose, star jasmine, and pink cyclamen, while the base notes consist of vanilla musk, creamy sandalwood, and radiant blond woods.[12]

The bottle for Curious features azure blue multifaceted glass adorned with pink heart-shaped charms. The larger eau de parfum is crowned with an antique-style blue atomizer, a detail that Spears believed lent the packaging a touch of sophistication. The outer packaging combines Spears' preferred colors, pink and azure blue, with a matte black top revealing cutouts that showcase the fragrance's logo. Upon opening, the box unfurls like a blossoming flower, revealing the bottle nestled within and the pink lining of the inner carton.[12]


Reflecting on the strategies used for the marketing campaign of the fragrance, Beattie highlighted a crucial factor in the blockbuster success of Curious: a viral internet campaign. “What resonated with us […] is that you can’t just reach this demographic in a traditional way, because they’re not shopping in the same ways that consumers have in the past, and they’re not reading the same media as the traditional fragrance consumer.” he explained. Instead, this age group is heavily engaged online and through text messaging, so both strategies were utilized for the launch of Curious.[13]

TV Commercial[edit]

The commercial for the fragrance was shot by Dave Meyers who had already worked with the singer directing her videos Lucky (2000) and Boys (The Co-Ed Remix) (2002). The commercial titled “Curious – Hotel Rooms” stars Spears and actor Eric Winter.[14] The commercial begins with Winter and Spears exchanging glances before entering their neighboring hotel rooms. Both characters are then depicted contemplating each other, with Spears making her way to Winter's door. This is intercut with imaginative sequences of them being intimate, featuring elements like blossoming flowers, dolls, cartoons, and a rodeo. The scene concludes with Spears staring directly into the camera as the slogan “Do you dare?” is heard and the bottle of the fragrance is shown.

The spot was launched on Elizabeth Arden's website on September 17, 2004 in the Britney Spears Beauty section. [15] Upon its release Curious consumers “crashed our server three times, they were so anxious to see what was going on,” said Ron Rolleston, executive vice president of global marketing for Elizabeth Arden, noting that the campaign was downloaded 500,000 times a day during that period. “We reached millions of people that way, and created a pent-up demand,” added Beattie. “The great thing is that the Internet strategy complements the traditional advertising vehicles. It’s a much more effective way to leverage the ad spend, and the two reinforce each other.”[16]

Curious: Promo CD[edit]

Curious Promo CD
EP by
Released2004 (2004)
LabelJive Records

A limited edition gift extended play (EP) was released along with the launch of the fragrance. The CD features the songs "Someday (I Will Understand)" and "Monsa Lisa" previously released in her EP Britney & Kevin: Chaotic and a remix of the former available in her first remix album B in the Mix: The Remixes. The EP was an enhanced CD which also came with the TV commercial directed by Dave Meyers.

Track listing[edit]

1."Someday (I Will Understand)"3:37
2."Mona Lisa"
  • Spears
  • Teddy Campbell
  • David Kochanski
3."Someday (I Will Understand) Hi-Bias Signature Radio Remix"
  • Spears
4."Curious Fragrance Commercial"  0:30
Total length:8:18

Reception and Impact[edit]

Following its launch in September 2004, Curious broke the company's record for a perfume's first-week gross takings.[17] Securing the top-selling position in United States department stores, it maintained this position throughout the crucial holiday season, accumulating $30 million in retail sales within its initial three months on the market.[18] In a statement released by the company on December 10, it was revealed that Curious claimed the title of the top-selling beauty product on Amazon.com for the month of November. Moreover, it dominated the fragrance market in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, the only international markets where it was available. The statement highlighted Curious' remarkable success in Australia, where it became the most successful fragrance launch ever at the country's largest department store, Myer, within just five weeks of sales.[19]

During a company conference call, Scott Beattie, chairman and chief executive officer, acknowledged Curious as one of the most successful fragrance launches in the last five years. Paul West, president and chief operating officer, added that in New Zealand, Curious generated retail sales six times higher than the previous largest fragrance launch, contributing to Elizabeth Arden securing four of the top five fragrance spots in the country during the holiday season.[20] The remarkable performance of Curious significantly boosted Arden's net income. Reports from the last trimester, coinciding with the fragrance's launch, revealed a 9 percent increase in sales, rising from $296.3 million to $323 million.[21]

Reflecting on the fragrance’s reception within the public, Sue Phillips, president and CEO of Scenterprises, a fragrance branding and marketing company says that at that time, young women generally didn't favor fragrances because they associated them with their grandmothers. "Suddenly [with Curious], there was this luscious, floral fragrance with a youthful feel that didn’t seem old or mature”, Phillips explains.[22]

Spears influenced young women's interest in perfume. According to data from the NPD Group, a retail market research firm, an impressive 81 percent of young women were aware of Britney Spears' fragrance upon its release, a recognition level comparable to that of Bath & Body Works and Victoria’s Secret, the leading body spray brands for young women at the time. "She made it cool to wear fragrance," notes Karen Grant, vice president and global beauty analyst for the NPD Group. "Young people are still very engaged in fragrance, and that awareness was raised years ago by Britney Spears. Britney was part of that appeal".[23]


  1. ^ "How Britney Spears Built a Billion-Dollar Business Without Selling a Single Record". Yahoo life!. November 29, 2018.
  2. ^ "Taylor Swift Smells Sweet Success". The Hollywood Reporter. November 5, 2010.
  3. ^ "The Curious Staying Power of Britney's Perfume Empire". Racked. October 20, 2016.
  4. ^ "Britney Spears Signs with Arden" (PDF). WWD Friday Beauty. March 12, 2004.
  5. ^ "Britney Spears Signs with Arden" (PDF). WWD Friday Beauty. March 12, 2004.
  6. ^ "Britney Spears to Launch New Fragrance". Today Show. June 12, 2004.
  7. ^ "Elizabeth Arden Launches Eau de Britney" (PDF). WWD Friday Beauty. June 11, 2004.
  8. ^ "Britney Spears - Curious Fragrance (Global Launch in New Orleans, Louisiana)". youtube.com, minute: 1:09. May 11, 2024.
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  10. ^ "Elizabeth Arden Launches Eau de Britney" (PDF). WWD Friday Beauty. June 11, 2004.
  11. ^ "Britney Spears - Curious Fragrance (Global Launch in New Orleans, Louisiana)". youtube.com, minute: 3:03. May 11, 2024.
  12. ^ a b "Elizabeth Arden Launches Eau de Britney" (PDF). Women's Wear Daily. June 11, 2004.
  13. ^ "A Fragrance Fantasy for Spears" (PDF). WWD Friday Beauty. June 24, 2005.
  14. ^ "Britney Spears: Curious - Hotel Rooms". IMDB.
  15. ^ "Britney Spears to star in online ad for Arden fragrance". WWD Friday Beauty. September 14, 2004.
  16. ^ "A Fragrance Fantasy for Spears" (PDF). WWD Friday Beauty. June 24, 2005.
  17. ^ "The sweet smell of success: The celebrity fragrance industry is still going strong". Express UK. June 2, 2013.
  18. ^ "A Fragrance Fantasy for Spears" (PDF). WWD Friday Beauty. June 24, 2005.
  19. ^ "Britney Boosts Arden Net" (PDF). WWD Friday Beauty. February 4, 2005.
  20. ^ "Britney Boosts Arden Net" (PDF). WWD Friday Beauty. February 4, 2005.
  21. ^ "Britney Boosts Arden Net" (PDF). WWD Friday Beauty. February 4, 2005.
  22. ^ "The Curious Staying Power of Britney's Perfume Empire". Racked. October 20, 2016.
  23. ^ "The Curious Staying Power of Britney's Perfume Empire". Racked. October 20, 2016.