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Olay’s Body-Conscious Debut

NEW YORK — With an attractive facial care business in place, Olay’s New Year’s resolution is focused on enhancing its body image. <BR><BR>In February, the Procter & Gamble beauty brand aims to broadly enter the declining hand and...

NEW YORK — With an attractive facial care business in place, Olay’s New Year’s resolution is focused on enhancing its body image.

In February, the Procter & Gamble beauty brand aims to broadly enter the declining hand and body lotion category with Olay Quench, a four-item line said to “break the cycle of dry skin.”

Olay intends to bolster the category the same way it has revved up mass skin care with Total Effects and Regenerist, declared Michael Kuremsky, general manager of Olay for North America. Sales in the hand and body lotion category have slipped 4.5 percent to $743.4 million for the current period (excluding Wal-Mart), according to Information Resources Inc.

Olay has made inroads into body care with brand extensions such as Total Effects antiaging body lotion and, more recently, Olay Moisturinse, a moisturizing lotion that is applied in the shower. Since it bowed in June, Moisturinse, which is sold in the body wash aisle, has generated $3.4 million in sales in mass-market retailers (excluding Wal-Mart), according to IRI.

While Total Effects and Moisturinse target two niche segments, Quench is intended for the masses. “The body care category is a wide-open frontier, and now we have the consumer proposition with Quench to really go after it,” said Kuremsky. P&G would not break out sales, but industry sources estimate Quench could generate $50 million to $60 million in sales, enough to earn a spot among the top five brands in a category lead by players such as Vaseline, Nivea and Aveeno.

According to P&G consumer research, 80 percent of women have dry skin, and more than 70 percent report they are dissatisfied with their current body lotions.

Enter Quench. Its mission is to encourage loyalty in a category where consumers are notoriously fickle. “We are going to break the cycle of dry skin. To do this, we looked at the science behind what causes the dry skin cycle to make a continuous loop, and why current lotions approach it superficially and simply temporarily diffuse it,” said Kuremsky.

After four years of research, P&G said it has cracked the code of dry skin. According to Olay, Quench relies on an amino vitamin complex to do four things: hydrate skin, renew it by removing older skin cells, replenish moisturizing agents like humectants and repair skin’s lipid or moisture barrier against environmental conditions. This cycle of hydrate, renew, replenish, repair, is what will make skin healthy and radiant, explained Kuremsky.

Quench is said to reduce the appearance of dry skin within one week, but users will notice a difference the first time they use it, according to Sherrie Kinderdine, senior researcher for Olay Skin Care. “Women have to notice a benefit right away to stay encouraged and want to continue using the product,” she said, adding that the formula contains a blend of powders that have a “ball-bearing” effect and glide over skin.

Quench, housed in lilac bottles, is available in three formulas: extra dry with shea butter, normal to dry with chamomile and sensitive with aloe vera. The lotions also come in three sizes: 8.4 oz. for $4.99, 13.5 oz. for $6.99 and 20.2 oz. for $8.99. The two largest sizes have a pump applicator. “We know that consumers like to buy body lotions in bigger sizes and that they also want good value. We are giving them tremendous value in terms of the offering and middle of the market pricing,” noted Kuremsky. Quench Rapid Repair Hand Lotion with jojoba oil is available in one formula and one size with a suggested retail price of $4.99.

Advertisements will break in January and rely heavily on print ads in beauty and fashion books. Olay will supplement television and print ads with direct-to-consumer efforts that will include sampling on olay.com. It also will dole out samples to consumers in the store. “The in-store component of our launch is a significant pillar. We have worked broadly with retailers to create end-aisle displays, and have worked in a customized fashion — retailer by retailer — for specialized plans, such as in-store demonstrations,” said Kuremsky.

“This is a big launch for us on the scale of several of our recent face care launches,” said Kuremsky, adding, “so you can expect that level of support

“We are getting into the hand and body lotion category with Quench, and we are doing it in a way to build Olay as one of the anchors in this category over time,” added Kuremsky.