By  on July 10, 2009

The doctor is back in — and Dr. Nicholas Perricone is bringing what he calls a first-to-market technology in his black physician’s satchel.

Perricone — founder of the beauty brand which bears his name and a Yale-trained dermatologist with dozens of patents to his credit — is launching Cold Plasma Dermal Matrix Regenerator this fall. In addition to offering a new treatment for the skin, Perricone also is providing a tonic for his business in the form of updated packaging and visuals, and a new ad campaign with himself reinserted, after an absence, as the brand’s face.

The Cold Plasma skin serum, which introduces a patented carrier system for topical application, delivers benefits “far beyond what was previously capable,” said Perricone.

“This was an accidental discovery,” said Perricone, who has been studying the technology in collaboration with physicists at Los Alamos Laboratories for the past five years; that study led to the serum’s ionic suspension carrier system. “This delivery system presents an environment in which the cell has access to the vital nutrients needed to maintain its health and help prevent the visible signs of aging, by directing the nutrients through the cellular membrane — where they can be effectively utilized. Because each person has individual biochemical needs, this system is also selective in which nutrients it delivers. If anything in the formula isn’t needed, it simply won’t be utilized. But because each person is different, Cold Plasma adapts to those individual needs.”

Cold Plasma will retail for $150 for a 1-oz. bottle. It was previewed on QVC in May, and will be available in specialty stores, including Sephora and Nordstrom, and Perricone’s Web site and his flagship store in Manhattan, on Sept. 15.

“QVC is an excellent barometer for Perricone MD as it allows us the tell the story of the science behind the product,” said Daniel Giles, senior vice president of marketing for the brand, of the strategy. “We think of QVC as the educational arm of our distribution strategy. We prelaunched Cold Plasma on QVC in May and sold over half a million dollars in product. Based on the results at QVC, Cold Plasma will emerge as our top stockkeepingunit.”

Industry sources estimate Cold Plasma could do $11 million at retail in its first year on counter.

The launch is part of an effort to reframe Perricone’s eponymous brand into a holistic lifestyle brand, said Giles, who along with chief executive officer Diane Miles is a large part of that effort.

And Perricone — who since his brand’s 2006 infusion of cash from San Francisco-based TSC Consumer Partners, an investment firm, had been the name but not the face associated with the line — is returning in a more visible role, including a new advertising campaign, which promotes the brand’s 2009 launches. After what Giles described as an “unsuccessful packaging redesign,” the team developed a comprehensive campaign, which involved updating visuals, packaging and the Web site. “The design approach was a modern interpretation of traditional apothecary — understated, elegant typography, and scientific photography and frosted amber glass,” said Giles. “We are communicating that Perricone MD product isn’t created by a faceless corporation but instead is researched and developed by Dr. Perricone.”

The first ads with Perricone, with a theme of “doctor’s orders,” began running in February issues of Vanity Fair, Allure, W and Lucky. They will run through December, and feature products which are exclusive in distribution to Sephora. “Our first ad featured HP Eye Lift and it’s already the number-one sku within the line,” said Giles. Industry sources estimated the company is spending upwards of $4 million on the campaign.

To underline the fact that Perricone is an active part of the brand, Facebook and Twitter have also become an important part of the brand, with Perricone blogging every Friday.

In addition to the overhauling of packaging, advertising and the brand’s Web site, Perricone is also exploring direct-to-consumer sales, which he and his team believe will bring new customers to the brand and drive traffic to Plans are also in the works for additional freestanding Perricone stores, with an Los Angeles boutique planned for spring 2010. International boutique expansion is also being considered. All will feature express spa services, noninvasive treatments, topicals, supplements, food and drinks.

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