By  on February 18, 1994

NEW YORK -- Lancome is preparing to launch a moisturizer projected to sell more units than any other single item in the company's lineup.

Pierre Rogers, president and general manager of the Lancome division of Cosmair Inc., said he expects to sell 1.2 million units of the product, called Bienfait Total, from April through December. With a price point of $30 for a 1.7-oz. bottle, retail sales could total $36 million.

Bienfait Total is expected to surpass Renergie, the company's current top product, which sells about 600,000 units of the 1.7-oz. size at $50, for a total of $30 million, according to industry estimates.

Renergie, though, also comes in two other forms -- a 2.5-oz. size for $62.50 and a 0.5-oz. eye formula for $35 -- so its overall volume will probably exceed Bienfait Total's.

Lancome executives say they are so confident in Bienfait Total's potential that the company is launching the product nationwide on April 24 and worldwide throughout the month.

Typically, Lancome launches a product in Europe before bringing it to the U.S. and other markets. The closest Lancome has come to launching a product simultaneously was Niosome, which arrived in Europe in late 1986 and in the U.S. in early 1987.

Lancome is owned by the Paris-based L'Oreal.

"When we do all the stores like this in a very big launch and show we believe in it with big spending, we make a much greater impact doing it all in the same week," Rogers said.

Rogers said spending on Bienfait Total will exceed Niosome's launch budget -- which holds Lancome's record -- by 40 to 50 percent.

He declined to break out figures, but industry sources said Bienfait Total's advertising and promotion budget for 1994 will come close to $12 million, a high figure for a single stockkeeping unit in the treatment category.

The ad campaign, which will feature Lancome model Isabella Rossellini, will hit 60 markets and encompass TV, radio, newspaper, magazines and direct mail, according to Lynne Greene, senior vice president of sales. Bienfait Total will be the first Lancome treatment product to have its own TV launch campaign, Greene said.

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