By  on May 9, 2008

The Estée Lauder Cos. Inc. was the big winner at the 14th annual Cosmetics Executive Women Beauty Awards ceremony last Friday at the Waldorf-Astoria hotel, taking home seven statuettes, compared with four awards for Procter & Gamble Co. and three for L'Oréal.

Elana Drell-Szyfer, senior vice president of global marketing for Estée Lauder, remarked, "I feel like we're old friends at this point," as she picked up the Lauder brand's fourth and final award of the afternoon.

Terry Darland, general manager of Parfums Christian Dior, North America, was to the point: "There is going to be a heck of a party at the Dior offices this afternoon."

However, Jill Scalamandre, chief marketing officer of Chrysallis Inc., found herself in an odd "bittersweet" position of accepting an award for Frédéric Fekkai, a brand that Chrysallis had just sold and passed on to Procter & Gamble with the knowledge that it will be in good hands.

CEW raised the competitive bar by making the entry requirements stricter as part of a collaboration with The NPD Group. One of the major changes made to this year's presentation was to delineate product categories as "mass" or prestige, rather than by price point, as in years past. And there were fewer of them — 27 categories, compared with last year's 34. Some changes made this year included removing the Nail Care & Color category, as well as streamlining the Scent and Acne categories to Men's Scent, Women's Scent and Acne Treatment, so there is no division between mass and prestige. The same thing was applied to the facial skin care categories. The Lip Treatment and Peel and Mask subcategories were both removed. The men's product category has changed from Men's Skin Care to Men's Grooming to allow for more general men's products.

"The NPD Group has helped align our categories with what's happening in the marketplace," stated Carlotta Jacobson, CEW president.

"Sex and the City" star Mario Cantone hosted the award ceremonies for the third year in a row.

There was a tie for Best Indie Startup that went to Betty Beauty Inc. and Clark's Botanicals. While the Women's Prestige Fragrance award went to Marc Jacobs Fragrances' Daisy Marc Jacobs, Men's Scent went to Bond No. 9 New York's Andy Warhol Silver Factory.In facial skin care, Bare Escentuals RareMinerals Blemish Therapy won for acne treatment. Antiaging in the mass category went to Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream, while Shiseido Cosmetics Ltd. won in the prestige category for Bio-Performance Intensive Skin Corrective Program. In the cleanser and scrub category for mass, Dove won for its SkinVitalizer. For prestige, Philosophy's Microdelivery Micro-Massage Exfoliating Wash took the honors.

For eye treatments in mass, it was Olay Regenerist Eye Derma-Pod Anti-Aging Triple Response System, and for prestige, Estée Lauder Future Perfect Anti-Wrinkle Radiance Eye Creme won. In the moisturizer category, L'Oréal Paris Revitalift UV Daily Moisturizing Cream with Mexoryl SX won, while Estée Lauder Hydra Bright Skin-Tone Perfecting Moisturizer took home the prestige award.

In the hair care and coloring category, Garnier Fructis Style Sleek & Shine Anti-Humidity Hairspray won for best mass product, while Frédéric Fekkai Coiff Contrôle Ironless Straightening Balm won in the prestige segment.

For the makeup segment, Procter & Gamble won for best eye product in the mass category for its Cover Girl LashBlast Mascara, while Dior got an award for best prestige product for its Diorshow Blackout Mascara. Revlon won for its mass face product Almay Smart Shade Blush and Bronzer, while the prestige award went to Estée Lauder Resilience Lift Extreme Ultra Firming Makeup SPF 15. Other makeup awards were given to L'Oréal Paris Infallible Never Fail Lipcolour, which won lip product in mass, while YSL Beauté Lip Twins won in prestige.

The only men's grooming award went out to Estée Lauder for Clinique Skin Supplies for Men M Cover.

For the second year in a row, Origins took the award for bath and body product in prestige for Dr. Andrew Weil for Origins The Way of the Bath Matcha Tea Body Scrub, and for the mass segment, Olay won with its Thermal Pedicure. In the scented bath and body arena, Johnson's won the mass segment for Softoil Melt Away Stress Massaging Moisturizer, while Estée Lauder received the award in prestige for Tom Ford Beauty Black Orchid Finishing Oil Spray.

The sun products award in the mass category went to Neutrogena's Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunblock SPF 70, while the prestige award went out to Estée Lauder for its Multi-Protection Sun Towelettes for Body SPF 15.In the beauty industry, the annual CEW awards have gained such currency that companies have started utilizing them as a selling point on everything from the packaging to merchandising.

"This is the crème de la crème of awards and a very important recognition, especially from our peers in the industry," said Esi Eggleston Bracey, vice president and general manager of global P&G Cosmetics, who oversees the Cover Girl and Max Factor brands. "There are so many products available out there that consumers face lots of confusion. These credentials add credibility and set us apart, which helps us keep building the business." Bracey added that her company has started featuring the seal on everything from the ads to the products' packaging to interactive efforts, and in store on product displays.

Origins also puts the CEW sticker on the packaging, in addition to the new merchandising unit such as the cash wrap, said Jenny Belknap, vice president of global marketing for Origins.

Francesco Clark of Clark's Botanicals feels that consumers like to see the CEW stamp because it means the items are efficacious and have been tried and tested.

Pamela Baxter, president and chief executive officer of LVMH Perfumes and Cosmetics NA and president of Christian Dior Inc., added that, according to NPD numbers, the market was flat last year and it doesn't seem to be growing this year.

"It looks worse than it actually is, and we're seeing growth from fashion brands like Chanel and Dior," said Baxter, adding that she's seeing lots of growth in makeup indie brands that are distributed through multiple channels of distribution such as on QVC and in department stores, Bare Escentuals and Philosophy. Another trend she sees is makeup taking the lead and outpacing fragrance.

On the mass front, Procter & Gamble's Virginia Drosos, president of global personal beauty at P&G Beauty, acknowledged difficulties posed by the economic climate, but expressed confidence that market growth will accelerate by quoting one of the afternoon's speakers who asserted that beauty may not be recession-proof, but it is recession-resilient.

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