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Calgon Taps Social Media Chatter for New Products

Women on the brand’s Facebook page passionately post about their favorite scents.

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NEW YORK — Calgon devotees have taken to social media to lobby for their favorite scents that they don’t want to see — in the spirit of the brand’s tag line — taken away.

Women on the brand’s Facebook page passionately post about their favorite Calgon scents, and brand loyalists made it clear they wanted to see the return of the favored fragrance Turquoise Seas.

For Calgon’s owner, Ilex Consumer Products Group, social media has played a pivotal role in the brand’s revival. Calgon is now getting a bubbling reception to the 2010 relaunch of its bath products. “We value our consumer feedback and they have consistently expressed a desire to see Turquoise Seas back in the market,” said Ben Harvey, executive vice president and general manager for Calgon. “We hope our consumers now realize that we have been listening.”

Turquoise Seas returns for spring, along with a new fruity-floral fragrance called Berry Ravishing. Both will be available as 8-oz. body mists. Calgon also expands its Sensual Collection, launched in 2011, with Enchanted Embrace, a fruity floral with notes of warm vanilla, peony and purple passion fruit. Borrowing a successful tactic in specialty stores last holiday, the fragrance will be part of a mist sampler set that includes Flirty Tease, Angelic Kiss and Femme Inferno.

Harvey said the Sensual Collection is designed to attract younger consumers to Calgon, which is better known with consumers around for the memorable “Take Me Away” ads. Calgon remains one of the most visible brand names with an 89 percent recognition factor, according to the company. Tweets and Facebook statuses frequently quote “Calgon, Take Me Away.”

Harvey said the line extensions harken back to the heritage of the brand while adding new twists. Ilex has expanded its display planogram to accommodate the new products and an expected uptick in bath sales at mass retail. Calgon is currently sold at retailers including Wal-Mart, Rite Aid, Dollar General, Kmart, Target and Kroger, and Harvey expects to see greater door expansion throughout the year.

Ilex acquired Calgon in 2008 from Ascendia Brands, which had purchased the collection just a year earlier from Coty, which had nurtured the label since 1946. Over the past few years, Ilex has freshened the line while staying true to the heritage.

“We’re seeing business start to pick up after three or four years of decline,” Harvey said of the overall bath business. He attributed some of the pickup to more consumers buying additional beauty items on a trip to a drugstore or discount store rather than special stops at department or specialty stores.

IRI/Symphony sales for food, drug and mass show the $60 million commodity bath category expanding more than 4 percent for the 52-week period ended Jan. 22, versus the similar time frame in 2011. In just mists, Calgon is now the sixth-largest mist with sales up 2.5 percent, according to Symphony/IRI. These gains come on the heels of five years of decline for bath.

One buyer who attended a recent show focused on bath agreed. “People have gone through all the old stuff they have and are ready to replenish. Bath and fragrance is still considered to be pampering,” she said.
Ilex also tapped into a hot trend with the launch last year of Ageless Bath, designed to reduce the aging effects on skin.

Calgon will continue to keep a close pulse on its fan base through social networking in addition to other consumer promotions to tout the new Calgon items, Harvey added.

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