Direct-response giant Guthy-Renker is recharging its Proactiv Solution acne franchise with three new celebrity spokeswomen and an updated approach to formulation, packaging and marketing.
Pop music stars Katy Perry and Avril Lavigne, and actress Jenna Fischer are following in the footsteps of Vanessa Williams and Jessica Simpson in touting Proactiv as an acne remedy. Spots featuring Perry, Lavigne and Fischer will launch this month, and Guthy-Renker is spending some $200 million on ad time worldwide for Proactiv this year, primarily on one-minute, two-minute and 30-second commercials.
Ben Van de Bunt, co-chief executive officer of Palm Desert, Calif.-based Guthy-Renker, declined to discuss the details of the contracts for Perry, Lavigne and Fischer, who join Mandy Moore, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Ryan Sheckler and Julianne Hough in Proactiv’s celebrity lineup. “We are paying people consistently with what we have done in the past, which is millions of dollars,” he said, adding the contracts are “at least one year with extensions.”
Van de Bunt explained it takes star power, compelling narratives about skin issues and genuine connections to Proactiv for celebrities to resonate with potential users. Music stars such as Perry and Lavigne appeal to Guthy-Renker due to their global reach.
Proactiv is at a crossroads in its history. For most of its 15 years, Guthy-Renker’s infomercial muscle helped the brand’s products — developed by dermatologists Katie Rodan and Kathy Fields — have few roadblocks in their path to becoming the world’s best-selling acne system. But the acne market has become crowded of late with brands taking shots at Proactiv. (In the last two years, for example, Johnson & Johnson’s Clean & Clear and Neutrogena Skin iD hit the airwaves with direct response ads.)
“In the face of that competition, we needed to elevate the brand and reposition ourselves,” said Van de Bunt. “We are definitely reintroducing big celebrities again, and we are coupling it with a slight difference in the conversation where we view acne as the enemy, and the best way to fight acne is with Proactiv.”
Proactiv’s packaging has been modified to give a “clearer picture of the brand on the bottles,” according to Van de Bunt. Inside the bottles, Proactiv’s key ingredient — benzoyl peroxide — has been refined into microcrystals designed to quickly enter pores. Select Proactiv products will also be recommended for different skin types, and Proactiv skin care advisers will offer 24-hour product guidance starting Jan. 29.
Van de Bunt projected Proactiv would register double-digit global growth this year. He said it experienced flat growth domestically in 2009, but saw an uptick abroad. Proactiv’s sales were around $830 million last year, accounting for more than half of Guthy-Renker’s estimated $1.5 billion in 2009 revenues. Proactiv is carried in 58 countries, and about 40 percent of its sales are from outside of the U.S.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast