By  on August 17, 2007

PARIS — With a steady flow of new launches in the pipeline for fall and a megawatt star spokeswoman, Helena Rubinstein is freshening up its marketing mix.

The L'Oréal-owned brand's renaissance was kicked off with the signing of actress Demi Moore as its face last year, according to Elisabeth Sandager, Helena Rubinstein's newly appointed international general manager.

"There's been a wow effect among retailers and consumers," Sandager said, adding her biggest challenge is injecting modernity into the brand.

A former consultant, Sandager took over from Simona Cattaneo, who left the company for personal reasons in March. Sandager was previously chief executive officer of Kookai. Her beauty credentials include acting as marketing vice president for Europe, Africa and the Middle East for Revlon and a role as product manager at Lancôme International.

In her new capacity at Helena Rubinstein, Sandager plans to concentrate on the brand's pillar segments, namely skin care and makeup, which each represent 50 percent of the brand's sales. To wit, part of the brand's plan to add edginess this fall includes launches in both categories, including Tips and Tricks, a makeup collection billed to make women look 10 years younger.

"No brand has taken that message," Sandager said. "To target the woman who starts to think about antiaging at around 35 years old, to teach her to mix skin care and color ranges to look younger."

For its treatment offering, Rubinstein partnered with the International Longevity Center to study the implications of sleep deprivation on the skin. The Center found that the stress caused by lack of sleep decreases the natural protective barriers of the skin and lowers melatonin production. To boost tired, aging skin, the firm created Prodigy Night Tissular, containing "chron'algae," an algae said to reactivate cellular metabolism, among other ingredients.

In addition, Life Pearl Cellular Eye and Lip cream, part of the Life Pearl line, is set to bow worldwide in October, costing 133 euros, or $179 at current exchange, for a 30-ml. jar.

Helena Rubinstein is sold in over 50 countries and counts Japan, Italy, Spain, France and Germany as its top five markets. As yet, there are no firm plans to reenter the U.S., from where Helena Rubinstein withdrew in 2005, Sandager said, adding, "some other new markets are in the offing."Meanwhile, sales in China, where the brand is distributed in department stores, are booming, growing an estimated 35 percent annually. "In newer markets we have clarified our positioning as a premium brand [for which sales are strong]," said Sandager, adding the brand still needs to upgrade its positioning in certain countries.

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