McGrath Compacts Bow As P&G Revs Up Clairol

BOCA RATON, Fla. — Wal-Mart and Target will be getting a dash of class this summer, with a color cosmetics initiative that has proven to be a winner in the prestige segment of the business. <BR><BR>In July, Cover Girl will introduce Custom...

BOCA RATON, Fla. — Wal-Mart and Target will be getting a dash of class this summer, with a color cosmetics initiative that has proven to be a winner in the prestige segment of the business.

In July, Cover Girl will introduce Custom Compacts, its first collection of products to be created with the input of makeup artist Pat McGrath, who was named Procter & Gamble’s beauty creative design director last September. The compacts introduce the customization concept, long a popular initiative in the prestige market, to mass.

“Pat has helped us to immediately develop this customized line for Target and Wal-Mart,” said Marc Pritchard, president of global retail hair color, cosmetics and personal care for Procter & Gamble’s beauty businesses and the Cosmetics, Toiletry and Fragrance Association’s new chairman. “This is a new type of initiative at mass, and we believe it will be a winning one for our customers. Pat has a real talent for translating runway to realway, and this line is something that illustrates that talent.”

Meanwhile, Pritchard also unfurled a plan for what he termed “a renaissance to growth” for the Clairol division. He also noted that Clairol has signed colorist Brad Johns as the division’s global creative color director, beginning April 1.

The McGrath compacts will be available in two options. The bulk of the program comprises starter compacts, which will be sold empty for $2.99 each and which will hold up to four magnetized pots of color. To fill them, customers can choose from a range of seven lip glosses, 21 lip colors and 14 eye shadow colors, each priced $3.49. Alternatively, for those who prefer McGrath’s guidance, one pre-made compact — which will contain two best-selling Cover Girl lip shades selected by McGrath — will also be sold, for $6.49.

The compacts will be sold exclusively in Wal-Mart and Target doors and will be available beginning in July.

Pritchard, who noted that more Cover Girl/McGrath initiatives will be in stores this fall, didn’t rule out the possibility of one day doing a Pat McGrath-branded line. “I could see it happening eventually,” he told WWD.

This story first appeared in the March 11, 2005 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The McGrath initiatives are just part of Pritchard’s plan to keep Cover Girl’s growth continuing. “The Cover Girl brand continues to grow, and it’s being driven by lots of fresh ideas and more than 10 new introductions a year,” he said, noting that the brand, including Wal-Mart numbers, is currently in the number one slot at mass. Cover Girl is one of three P&G beauty brands — the other two being SK II and Hugo Boss — that are on track to become the brand’s next billion dollar beauty businesses, said Pritchard. Each of the three reportedly already does well over $500 million yearly.

Turning to the new role for Johns, Pritchard said the colorist will track U.S. trends and advise Clairol on new hair color launches, said Pritchard. Johns operates an eponymous salon at the Avon Salon & Spa and also has a line of hair care products that are sold in the salon and on avon.com.

“Brad will help us add more innovation and inspiration to Clairol,” Pritchard said.

One of Pritchard’s goals for Clairol, he said at the conference, is to make hair color “a little closer to makeup.”

“I’d like to see us develop additional fashion-oriented items, which will result in a higher incidence of usage among consumers,” said Pritchard.

That’s a plan Clairol is already putting into place by launching promotional hair color collections, he said. Pritchard said that P&G has doubled Clairol’s business since acquiring it in November 2001 for an estimated $4.95 billion, and that the company is looking to double its business again.

P&G has already announced updates to three brands in the Clairol portfolio — Nice ’n Easy, Hydrience and Herbal Essences — and will unleash a host of new hair products this month, including Nice ’n Easy Root Touch-Up, priced at $6.99. P&G overhauled Natural Instincts, a fourth hair color brand, last year, and last fall installed Patrice Louvet as general manager, global design and North America retail hair color for Clairol, after Robert Matteucci retired from the post of vice president, global retail hair color and professional.

Industry sources forecast that Clairol brand sales will total more than $350 million by year-end 2005. For the 52-week period ended Dec. 26, Clairol brand sales totaled $318 million, according to Information Resources Inc.