By  on September 3, 2010

Maybelline New York aims to change the way a woman buys makeup for her face — especially how she shops for it in the drugstore aisle.

The brand, which is ranked as the leader in cosmetics for the four-week period ended Aug. 10, grew 15 percent to a 20.2 percent dollar share, according to sales data from SymphonyIRI Group.

While some of Maybelline’s recent success can be attributed to Instant Age Rewind The Eraser foundation (the best-selling new foundation, according to SymphonyIRI), the firm is looking to build on its face business and lure the entry-level face-makeup wearer, as well as the more established foundation consumer.

With Fit Me, a four-product face line, Maybelline executives believe it offers a newer take on the “shade true” category, starting with a foundation, a powder, a concealer and a blush. Three bronzers help complete the finished look.

While executives acknowledge Fit Me isn’t the first face regimen to include all of these items, the point of differentiation is that Fit Me links the various items together so the consumer will shop face as a regimen.

“For us, Maybelline already has a solid face business, but we needed to recognize the shade true segment of foundation. Our research tells us that ‘the right shade for me’ and ‘needs to look natural on my skin’ remain very important to the 1,000 women we spoke to. That was a big learning — and the inspiration for the Fit Me launch,” said Ali Goldstein, vice president of U.S. marketing for Maybelline New York.

Items in Fit Me use “skin merge technology,” a patented formula that aims to match skin tone and blend quickly. Fit Me includes a foundation, which has an SPF 18 and uses pigments that are grounded and refined before being added to a translucent base to allow for skin-shade replication. The foundation has a number featured prominently on packaging so the consumer knows immediately which shade of powder will match her skin, as its corresponding partner will bear the same number. Powders use a creamy pigment technology, and both the foundation and powder are available in 18 shades and will retail for $7.99. The concealer is available in six shades, while the blush comes in 12. Concealers will sell for $6.49 and blush and bronzers will sell for $5.51 apiece.

Industry sources estimate Fit Me could generate as much as $70 million in first-year retail sales.

In most stores, Fit Me will take up about three feet of space. Whether that space is new to Maybelline or a way to fill a hole left by a discontinued brand is still being decided by retailers said Carolyn Holba, senior vice president of U.S. marketing at Maybelline New York-Garnier. So that consumers can shop across the regimen, the line will be displayed in rows by shade, rather than by item. For example, the light-shade powders will be next to the light-shade foundations, along with coordinating blushes and concealers.

“Generally, all the foundations are at eye level and the rest of the items are underneath and they become secondary. We have reorganized how it is planogrammed in the store to a coordinating horizontal layout,” said Goldstein.

A tool at the shelf looks to help consumers narrow down what their shade is, too.

A print and TV advertising campaign for Fit Me follows a reality theme where each of Maybelline’s spokesmodels is filmed during various times of their days, giving it a documentary feel. Their Fit Me shade numbers are revealed at the end of each spot.

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