By  on September 16, 2011

LONDON — Rimmel is marking its 10-year anniversary with Kate Moss by launching a collection created by the model. The Coty-owned brand unveiled the Kate Moss Lasting Finish Lipstick collection with much fanfare in London Thursday, with a press conference starring Moss. It was followed by a party at Battersea Power Station in South London, where Moss arrived via a Rimmel-branded helicopter.

“If you had to choose the most perfect icon for London, it would be Kate Moss,” said Steve Mormoris, senior vice president of global marketing at Coty Beauty. Renato Semerari, president of Coty Beauty, added: “And 10 years after, she’s still an icon of London.”

Mormoris noted that throughout Moss’ 10-year stint as the face of Rimmel — which also coincides with his and Coty Inc.’s chief executive officer Bernd Beetz’s 10 years at Coty — she’d often had creative input into the brand’s advertising campaigns. “She’s incredibly involved in the creativity in Rimmel, working with the photographers Craig McDean and David Sims, helping them with makeup looks,” said Mormoris. “She’s a real London girl, and we made her kind of a creative contributor to the brand.”

And Beetz said Moss’ ambassadorial role had been instrumental in Rimmel’s expansion outside the U.K. “Beyond the face, [Moss’ role] gave an infrastructure to the brand, a cohesive framework that all the development, R&D and marketing had been able to work toward,” said Beetz. Mormoris added: “I think without her, the brand would not have doubled in size in 10 years.”

Indeed, Moss’ appointment as a face of the brand was Beetz and Mormoris’ first major decision together when they both joined Coty in 2001. “We thought about how we could express [Rimmel’s London heritage] best in a campaign, in a face, and it doesn’t take a genius to get to Kate Moss,” said Beetz with a laugh. “Ten years ago, Rimmel was a different company, and a different brand....It was a big decision for us: We were not a successful company, we were losing money. It’s for me a very emotional moment.”

Beetz noted that Rimmel’s relationship with Moss had lasted through thick and thin. “After two or three years, there was this big scandal about Kate [when the model was pictured purportedly taking cocaine], everybody dropped her, [but] we stuck to our guns....We wanted to be loyal to her and she was loyal to us,” said Beetz.

During the press conference, Moss appeared onstage wearing tailored gray pants with a gray jersey top, teamed with the red Number 001 shade from her lipstick collection. Describing the London look that Rimmel says she embodies, Moss said it’s “an eclectic look really — I think anything goes in London. It’s very different from Paris and New York. You can be who you want to be.”

The collection launched last week at Boots in the U.K., will launch throughout the country Sept. 29 and will follow into the U.S. in January. The print ad for the collection, which will launch in March in the U.S., features Moss wearing a vibrant red shade. An accompanying TV spot, which will be shown in the U.K. beginning late this month, shows Moss posing at a fictional photo shoot, before she leaves the set to depart from the roof of the studio on a helicopter. The lipstick collection comes in 15 shades, and will retail in the U.S. for $5.17 apiece. Mormoris said the company will likely introduce more color categories, such as lip gloss and nail enamel.

Meanwhile, Beetz said Rimmel is central to Coty’s plan to grow its color cosmetics business to become on a par with its fragrance business. “It’s a very important part,” said Beetz. “Rimmel is our flagship brand for all key pillars of the color cosmetic world — lipstick, mascara, eye shadow, foundation. It’s a $1 billion brand, and it’s one of the most important color cosmetics brands in the world.” And it’s through “product innovation” that Coty plans to grow the brand, along with expanding into emerging markets. Semerari said Rimmel has recently taken back its distribution in China, and said there is “room for growth” for the brand in Asia, Russia and Latin America. To wit, Rimmel’s ambassadors include Puerto Rican model Alejandra Ramos Muñoz, Londoner Georgia May Jagger and Americans Solange Knowles and Zooey Deschanel. “The key reason why we wanted to bring variety is to show how eclectic the brand can be, and how well it can adapt to different skin tones and different personalities,” said Semerari.

In the U.S., Rimmel is the eighth-largest color cosmetics company, and Semerari said the company’s “dream” is to take the brand into the top five. “Will that be done in one year? Certainly not,” said Semerari. “But we put a lot of pressure on the local team to make it as fast as possible.”

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