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An Olay Brand for the Derm Generation

NEW YORK — Forget about going to the local dermatologist for a chemical peel. Olay says it now has an at-home alternative.<br><br>Three years after Procter & Gamble introduced its blockbuster Olay Total Effects antiage cream, the beauty behemoth...

NEW YORK — Forget about going to the local dermatologist for a chemical peel. Olay says it now has an at-home alternative.

Three years after Procter & Gamble introduced its blockbuster Olay Total Effects antiage cream, the beauty behemoth intends to break new ground with an advanced facial line geared toward older women who are serious about fighting the effects of age.

Olay Regenerist, a three-item collection, uses its exclusive Amino-Peptide Complex as the key ingredient. P&G went outside its own labs and partnered with French company Sederma to create an exclusive form of pentapeptide — a strand of five amino acids — for this new line. It will be in-store in April.

“Everything we do at P&G starts with understanding the consumer,” said Susan E. Arnold, president, global personal beauty care at P&G. “Every year, we see her getting smarter, savvier and expecting more from her beauty products, and every year we have to work harder to delight her.” She claims Regenerist brings the “latest, most sophisticated antiaging technology to mass consumers.”

Olay marketers say using an amino-peptide takes treatment “beyond skin care to cell care.” Pentapeptide was first discovered for use in wound healing — it regenerates damaged skin. Olay’s version is designed to help renew skin’s outer layer by driving new cells to the surface, and thus reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. The Amino-Peptide Complex also contains vitamin B3 for energy production; allantoin for skin conditioning; pro-vitamin B5 for moisturization and antioxidants vitamin E and green tea extract.

The collection includes the 1.7-oz. Perfecting Cream; the 2.5-oz. Enhancing Lotion with UV Protection, which also contains vitamin C, and the 1.7-oz. Daily Regenerating Serum, the most concentrated form. The items are line-priced at a suggested retail of $18.99 and each also contains light-bending powders to soften the appearance of facial lines.

P&G is said to be heavily backing the launch with a $45 million marketing plan and is expecting retail sales of $50 million the first year, according to sources. P&G executives declined to comment on sales figures.

Virgina Coleman-Drosos, vice president, global skin care at P&G, said whereas Total Effects fights all signs of aging in a holistic way, it appeals to a slightly younger user. “The Regenerist woman is more likely to be interested in cosmetic surgery and is an early adopter of new treatments and products.”

Advertising will be both TV and print, including display ads in The New York Times and USA Today. A broad sampling campaign and mall advertisements are planned. “And we will have unprecedented levels of in-store support, including testers of displays,” noted Coleman-Drosos. That includes Wal-Mart, and additionally, there will be an online presence. Consumers will be able to receive samples and ask questions via an online beauty adviser.

A buyer for a regional drugstore chain, who is taking in floor stands for Regenerist, is excited about the introduction and remarked that if “P&G can get the message across to consumers, this could be great.” The distinctive look of the flexible outer package, which is black with a swirl of red tones, will set it apart from the Total Effects brand.

Industry consultant Allan Mottus, said that “high-end mass [skin care] is really exploding. Last fall, you saw a trading out of the department stores for diverted fragrance and other products, and then I started to see it in the fourth quarter in skin care.”

Mass-market sales of antiage skin care jumped 16 percent last year to $358.8 million, according to Information Resources Inc., excluding Wal-Mart.

“The drugstore chains are starting to see that despite everything they have done to kill it, the skin care business is still there,” said Mottus. Pointing to the price of Olay and some other higher-priced mass brands, “it isn’t cheap, but it is still 50 percent less than department stores.”