By  on June 10, 1994

NEW YORK -- Elizabeth Arden is set to expand its Spa brand into a fourth category -- treatment.

With the mid-August launch of Spa Skincare With Vitamins and Minerals, the company feels it will round out a youth-oriented brand that already includes bath and body products, sun care and a fragrance, Sunflowers.

"We wanted to carry the Spa concept even further," said Victoria Connell, vice president of marketing development for makeup and skin care, noting that the Spa brand is targeted to price-conscious consumers with an interest in aromatherapy and natural-based products.

"Spa has introduced us to a different group of consumers, and we wanted to take advantage of that. It's a natural progression," she said.

The products in the nine-item line contain an array of vitamins and minerals that act as antioxidants, according to the company. The collection will be launched simultaneously worldwide and will be sold in Arden's 3,000-door U.S. distribution.

"Antioxidants neutralize free radicals, which are at the root of signs of aging and cellular damage," said John McCook, vice president of research and development. "Our products have had antioxidants in the past but never with a combination of this many vitamins."

The products contain vitamins A, E and C, as well as biotin, pro-vitamin B5 and algae extracts.

According to Connell, antioxidant products have developed into a major story in the skin care industry.

"They are the big buzz," she said. "There's a growing awareness with consumers. The problem has been that it's a complex scientific story that makes it hard to get across to people."

The new line will include a three-step "daily program" -- cleansing, toning and moisturizing -- along with a "special program," two extra products for spot treatment.

The products are divided into four regimens, for dry, normal-to-dry, normal-to-oily and oily skins.

As with the rest of the Spa brand, the skin care products will be priced lower than the rest of Arden's lineup to attract and maintain a youthful audience.

"The pricing was developed with affordability and value in mind," Connell said.Spa Skincare will include two soaps, $14.50 for a pair of 3.5-oz. bars; a cleansing milk and cleansing gel, $14.50 per item for a 5-oz. bottle; two toners, $9.50 each for a 5-oz. bottle, and a moisturizer with a sun protection factor of 15, $10.50 for a 1.7-oz. jar.

Two special items will be Comeback Cream, an intensive moisturizer that will retail at $27.50 for a 1.7-oz. jar, and Clear the Way Mask, a deep cleanser and exfoliator, $14.50 for a 5-oz. bottle.

The packaging of the products for drier skins will be colored mainly in pink, while those for oilier skins will be predominantly blue.

As with the Spa bath and body products, the items are not packaged in exterior cartons.

According to Jon Turcotte, vice president and general manager of the Spa brand, the new skin care line is expected to generate 8 percent of Arden's overall worldwide volume in its first year in stores.

"Since the Spa products have brought a whole new customer base to Arden, and these products fit right into the Spa image, they should do extremely well," he said.

Turcotte would not discuss specific dollar amounts, but according to industry estimates, the company should post a worldwide wholesale volume of nearly $550 million this year. Therefore, the new skin care line could ring up over $40 million worldwide.

Connell noted that the line will attract a different customer than Ceramides, Arden's biggest volume treatment brand.

"Ceramides is basically curative, and this is preventative," she said. "Naturally, the Ceramides customer would be a little older."

Arden will put considerable effort into educating consumers about Spa Skincare's benefits, Connell said, including using in-store "learning centers."

Customers can use the self-service centers, which will be placed on store counters, to determine skin type and receive recommendations as to what products they should use and when.

Beginning in August, the company will give away sample kits consisting of miniature samples of soap, toner and a moisturizer. Connell said "many million" samples would be distributed worldwide.In another promotional offer, a set containing a full-sized soap, toner and moisturizer will be retailed for $28.50 during the launch period.

A print advertising campaign will first appear in September editions of major fashion and beauty publications, according to Turcotte. The campaign's tag line will be "Healthy Living, Healthy Looking Skin."

"We'll be doing single-page and double-page spreads," Turcotte said. "We should be reaching a total circulation of 40 million to 50 million in the fall.

"Sunflowers will still be strongly advertised," he continued, speaking of the scent Arden launched last year. "We want to marry them together. For instance, the advertising for both products will appear in the same issues of magazines."

The new treatment line will also be cross-sampled with Sunflowers, Turcotte added.

In a related development, Arden has joined forces with the Linus Pauling Institute, a private organization focusing on the study of vitamins and health issues. Research information and use of facilities will be exchanged, to the benefit of both organizations, according to McCook.

"Their research will be advanced by what we have to offer in the way of donations and the use of [the Unilever] facilities," McCook said. Unilever is Arden's parent company.

McCook noted that it was Pauling, a winner of two Nobel Prizes, who pioneered the use of vitamins as nutritional supplements.

The Pauling Institute and Arden will also co-publish Healthline, a newsletter with scientific updates on health and skin care issues. It will be published twice a year, with the first issue coinciding with the Spa Skincare launch.

McCook added that the research collaboration will have a positive effect on upcoming Arden treatment launches.

"Hopefully, we'll get information to use antioxidants more effectively," he said. "This should benefit the Spa products of the future."

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