By  on January 25, 2002

PARIS -- A new era is dawning for Lancaster.

"What we will start to see in the first-quarter 2002 is a new platform for the Lancaster brand," said Catherine Walsh, senior vice president, international marketing, cosmetics and American licenses for the Coty-owned Lancaster Group Worldwide.

To that end, the company will unveil seven new, high tech sun care products plus a treatment item for the 40-plus set and integrate its birthplace, Monaco, into Lancaster's branding.

Lancaster was founded in 1946 in Monaco, where its scientists recently worked with University of Berlin researchers to identify the types and amounts of free radicals generated by UV radiation. They then produced a complex, RPF (Radical Protection Factor), which purportedly combined botanical extracts and pure substances to naturalize free radical skin and help protect it from cell damage and photo-aging.

The seven new products containing RPF are part of the 50-stockkeeping-unit Lancaster sun line. The entrants include Pre-Sun Booster, Fast Tan Optimizer SPF 8, Sun Oil Spray SPF 4, Oil-Free Sun Spray SPF 15, Oil-Free Sun Spray SPF 8, Beach Cooler SPF 4 and Instant Self Tan Bronzer SPF 4. "The idea is to take sun care one step further," said Walsh.

Also to help make such strides, the entire Lancaster sun care line, which generates about 38 percent of the brand's volume that sources estimate is between $200 million and $300 million, has been repackaged in streamlined orange boxes, tubes and bottles with user-friendly features such as a sand-proof spray nozzle and color-coded markings indicating product type.

Sun products' texture, scent and price points, however, remain unchanged.

On the docket for Lancaster sun care as well are more products being reformulated and the line possibly being trimmed by about 15 percent, said Walsh.

To announce the revamped collection, new sun care advertising will be unveiled in single- and double-pages -- one for the entire skin care line and the other for self-tanners. Both were created by Gilles Bensimon of the Air agency here.

These ads will break at launch time, which is February for Switzerland and March for Spain, Italy, Germany, France and the U.K. The rollout to the rest of Europe and the Mideast is slated for April.The other upcoming big launch set for Lancaster skin care is Suractif Excellence, for women 40 and above. The product, whose formula includes wild yam, truffle extract and a retinol complex, is billed to give skin accelerated, intensive and prolonged revitalization. It is for day and nighttime use and due to be launched in February in all of Lancaster's skin care markets.

"The product goes beyond lifting and firming," explained Walsh. "It adds an overall vitality to the skin." It is also expected to help bolster brand sales. While Walsh would not reveal numbers, industry sources estimate the product could generate about $5 million at retail in the first 12 months.

Suractif Excellence's price points are on the high end of the market. A 50-ml. jar of the product will retail for about $148, converted from the euro at current exchange rates. Suractif Excellence's single- and double-page ads, also by Air's Bensimon, will break in all of Lancaster's markets at launch time.

"The idea of the new ads [is to introduce] an entire new voice, communication and style," said Walsh.

All of the advertising will carry the new Lancaster logo, with an 'L' that reads "Lancaster Monaco" at its base, as will the branding for each product category. "The 'L' almost becomes a trophy," explained Walsh, who added it is meant to hearken back to the roots of the company and help give Lancaster a more lifestyle positioning.

All of these changes are part of Lancaster's strategy through the end of fiscal year 2003, explained Walsh. "The goal is to grow all three pictures," she said, referring to the skin care, sun care and makeup categories that comprise the lion's share of sales at Lancaster, Lancaster Group Worldwide's second-largest brand, after Davidoff and before Jil Sander.

Also, as part of the new strategy, the company is also angling to be first in every sun care market where the brand is currently sold.

Another goal in the period is to grow Lancaster's makeup category so it is 10th in Europe, whereas it is now 12th, explained Walsh.

"It is the beginning of a very strong Lancaster," she said.

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