Caroline Wozniacki dethroned Serena Williams last month as the world’s number-one female tennis player and now is following in her footsteps off the court by becoming a spokeswoman for direct-response giant Guthy-Renker’s Proactiv Solution.
Although Wozniacki’s just 20 years old, Guthy-Renker is banking on her appeal to a sophisticated, older, tennis-loving demographic after Proactiv energized young skin care consumers by signing pop stars Katy Perry, Avril Lavigne and Justin Bieber for its television spots, digital media and consumer magazine ads. The two-year deal with the Denmark native, who lives in Monaco, will pay her several-million dollars, according to Guthy-Renker co-founder and co-chairman Greg Renker, who declined to disclose an exact dollar amount.
Wozniacki, who also fronts Adidas by Stella McCartney and has been tapped by Danish hair and body care company Allison, said she tried many skin care products before becoming a Proactiv devotee a few years ago. “I really use the product and am happy and enthusiastic about the product,” she said, after being asked why Guthy-Renker opted to work with her.
Although she’s grown accustomed to media scrutiny, Wozniacki admitted maintaining impeccable skin keeps her confident to brave the cameras. “When you are in the spotlight, there are thousands of pictures taken of you. I am really happy now that I have good skin so there is one less thing to worry about,” she said.
Guthy-Renker linked arms with Wozniacki before she assumed the top ranking in women’s tennis, but it’s not lost on Greg Renker that the company selected her for Proactiv as the brand is trying to maintain its standing as the world’s number-one acne treatment system. More recent skin care infomercial players, including MaxClarity by Stiefel Labs and Skin iD by Neutrogena, have swarmed the airwaves to attempt to knock Proactiv from its leadership position.
The Proactiv campaign with Wozniacki, which will break today in Times Square with a spot running twice an hour on MTV’s high-definition screen on 7th Avenue and ramp up in January to coincide with the Australian Open, “is going to emphasize that she is number one. We are number one, and we are number one for a reason. We realize that we need to remind people of that. We are going to leverage that with Caroline,” said Renker.
Partly as a result of the increased competition and the rise of the Internet, Proactiv’s television presentation has evolved considerably since Williams was one of the faces of the brand starting about four years ago. The line between Proactiv’s advertising and traditional advertising has blurred, as Guthy-Renker seeks to raise brand awareness that leads to Web purchasing rather than merely solicit phone calls.
Renker said Wozniacki’s Proactiv appearance, which was shot in Monaco and shows what he described as colorful romantic scenes, “is almost like a mainstream beauty ad. It doesn’t look like direct response, and she does not look like direct response.” Proactiv, which has been responsible for more than half of Guthy-Renker’s estimated yearly pull of $1.2 billion to $1.5 billion, is expected to generate around $850 million in revenues this year. Earlier this year, the company said it would spend $200 million globally on the brand’s spots. “Proactiv has improved steadily; 2010 is definitely better than 2009,” said Renker.
As for Wozniacki, she is concentrating on staying at the helm of women’s tennis. “I would love to keep this ranking,” she said. “So my next goal is to try to win a grand slam.” Renker is convinced she can do it — and become a worldwide marketing phenomenon the likes of Maria Sharapova. “Caroline has got the goods,” he said.
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