By  on May 14, 2010

The infomercial-driven Youthology Research Institute is maturing from its one product that focuses on eyes — the 90 Second Wrinkle Removing Eye Serum — into a comprehensive brand that will be supported by direct response spots premiering today that discuss its three-step antiaging regimen.

“Initially, it was only a simple solution,” said Lenny Sands, chairman of Los Angeles-based Youthology marketer Capital Brands. “What we recognized was that consumers would use it on a regular basis, that they really liked our general formulations and wanted to have more product offerings.”

The products constituting the three-step regimen intended to garner results in 30 to 90 days are Vital Hydration Cream Cleanser, Serum Infused Moisture Cream and Radiance Renew Perfecting Gel. The 90 Second Wrinkle Removing Eye Serum comes with no additional charge when the three-step regimen products are purchased for $39.99, plus $9.99 for shipping.

Sands considers Youthology’s expansion to the regimen as an evolutionary step in Capital Brands’ efforts to create a lasting brand, generally a rarity in a direct-response industry known for chasing fads. With it, he projects that Youthology will retain customers for five months or longer, up from three months currently. New items also will roll out every 15 months or so — coming up is an antiaging hand and foot device slated for next year — to keep customers intrigued.

Although Youthology is Capital Brands’ first beauty brand, Sands, who was president of Guthy-Renker Fitness and chairman and founding partner of Alchemy Worldwide before leading Capital Brands, has considerable experience building recognizable infomercial properties. He was instrumental in the success of Body by Jake Fitness, Torso Tiger, Power Rider, Fitness Flyer, Perfect Abs, Flip Track, Thigh Rocker and the Magic Bullet, a blender brand now owned by Capital Brands.

“We had not been in the beauty category, but we have this unique secret sauce to create demand and a category out of a product,” said Sands. “Because this skin care business was a nonseasonal business, we thought this would be good for us to enter. The demographic for all of our other products is generally a female buyer. This was catering to the same customer.”

Capital Brands has spent about $60 million on television advertising for Youthology in the approximate 18 months since it hit the airwaves with the 90 Second Wrinkle Removing Eye Serum, and roughly $30 million in annual ad spending is expected for Youthology going forward. Some 8,000 units are sold weekly, an amount that Capital Brands is aiming to double with the addition of the regimen, according to Adrienne Sands, Lenny Sands’ daughter and Youthology’s brand development director.

“The way we develop the [Youthology] brand is by continuing to build long-term media plans, where people are so used to seeing our products that it is their form of shopping and our brand is so ingrained in their minds,” said Lenny Sands. He added that Youthology accounts for 15 percent of Capital Brands’ total revenue, but he anticipates that percentage will mount as Youthology’s product range grows.

Capital Brands’ strategies for packaging and celebrity spokespeople differ from other companies in the direct-response industry. Sands explained he shies away from celebrities because he feels customers frequently don’t buy celebrity pitches and believe money to pay celebrities diminishes the investment a company puts in the goods. “Our view is that the product is king,” he said.

Adrienne Sands argued that Youthology’s packaging outshines the packaging customary in the direct-response industry, where appearance on shelves doesn’t typically matter. The brand received a makeover with the introduction of the regimen. “My goal was to make it look like a prestige brand. I wanted to keep a very refined, clean look, but also make it look clinical,” she said. “I think when you get our package in the mail, you see the difference.”

Ultimately, Lenny and Adrienne Sands noted Youthology products could be made available at retail — Adrienne conjectured that an exclusive arrangement with a department store or specialty beauty retailer is an eventual possibility — but securing retail isn’t the main priority at the moment. “In talking to people, they say, ‘This is a product that we could see at a department store next to other products,’” she said. “In time, we can definitely look at that.”

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