Sean "Diddy" Combs Conquers Colognes, Unforgivable is No. 1

ImageNo stranger to topping the charts with No. 1 albums, Sean "Diddy" Combs' Unforgivable has become the top-selling fragrance since its release in February.

Estee Lauder, who partnered with Diddy to launch the fragrance, says Unforgivable is the best cologne to come out in years. Diddy, Federated Department Stores chief executive Terry Lundgren and Estee Lauder global brand president John Dempsey were slated to ring the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange this morning (April 3).

According to marketing research firm NPD Group, the fragrance industry generated up to $2.9 billion in sales in 2005, up 3% from the previous year. With celebrities like Paris Hilton and Britney Spears also releasing fragrances, analysts believe that clever marketing tactics and Puff's star power helped the mogul standout of the saturated market.

Puff and Estee Lauder borrowed music industry practices, placing samples of Unforgivable in night clubs. The cologne also benefited from much publicity when an ad featuring Diddy lying in bed with two women caused controversy.

Sources say Unforgivable is averaging sales between $1.3 and $1.5 million per week. Apparently successful fragrances typically sell $650,000 worth of product per week.

Despite its instant success, the brand has drawn skepticism. Analysts also believe Puff's timing contributed to his cologne's success, pointing out that it didn't have too many competitors.

"It's easy to be No. 1 in February and March," revealed Allan Mottus, publisher of industry newsletter the Informationist. "The true test will be when the competition heats up later this spring."

Mottus is also doubtful that the brand will cross over into the suburbs.

In related news, Ja Rule is scheduled to be among the contestants to take part in Diddy's newest venture, NBC's "Celebrity Cooking Showdown." The Inc. rapper will be joined by NFL superstar Tony Gonzalez and others on the cooking reality show slated to air this month.

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