NEW YORK--For Maybelline's Revitalizing cosmetics brand, age is no longer an issue. When Maybelline originally launched the color line 18 months ago, the collection was aimed strictly at prestige shoppers over 35 and their specific cosmetic needs. Now, the Revitalizing brand is out for broader appeal. Instead of harping on age as before, Revitalizing will now be pitched as Maybelline's premium and technologically advanced assortment that treats various beauty problems that can affect women of all ages. Maybelline will attempt to drive this new attitude home through new advertising and in-store information, as well as new product launches with wider-ranging claims. "When we first came out we focused on the age positioning to establish the brand and that segment of the market," said Cathy Wills, Maybelline's executive vice president of marketing. "But we found that no one really likes to be hit over the head with their age, especially if it is advancing. We also noticed that women of all ages were using products like Revitalizing mascara. You don't have to be mature to have skimpy, sparse lashes. It is a condition, not an age. "From now on, we will be taking more of a problem-solution approach rather than discussing age," she added. "While there are certain products in the line that are designed specifically for older women, since they minimize fine lines and wrinkles, we will be trying to convey that Revitalizing offers a full range of technologically innovative products that can answer the concerns of women of all ages." Revitalizing will start this evolutionary process throughout the rest of this year and into the first quarter of 1996. Despite mixed reviews from retailers and the financial analysts, year-to-date sales of Revitalizing are up 28 percent for the period that ended in September, and its market share rose about a half a point, according to industry sources. Maybelline does not break out sales of individual brands. Revitalizing now commands a 2.7 percent share of the $2.2 billion mass color market, or $59.4 million at retail, sources indicate. The new products, as well as the fine-tuning of the brand's positioning, are expected to boost Revitalizing's share by at least another half a point by the end of next year, giving it 3.2 percent of the mass cosmetics market. Last year, the brand's image took some heat when company president and chief financial officer partially attributed Maybelline's soft third- and fourth-quarter earnings to "lower than expected sales of Revitalizing." According to Joan Loller, Maybelline's spokeswoman, Revitalizing's sales were lower than initial projections because the line took longer to reach its full 15,000-door distribution than Maybelline had originally anticipated. "We thought that Revitalizing would be in all 15,000 doors by the end of the third quarter 1994, but it didn't finish the rollout until the end of the fourth quarter," she said. "We were asking retailers for four feet of incremental space, and in some cases, we had to wait for the stores to re-configure their planograms." The company, it seems, has been able to pull itself up from last year's difficulties. Net sales for the third quarter of this year were up 8.3 percent to $96.8 million over sales of $89.4 million for the third quarter of 1994. Its operating income of $11.7 million represented an increase of 40.4 percent over last year's total of $8.3 million. Meanwhile, net income of $5.7 million represented a jump of 52.7 percent from the $3.7 million in the comparable year-ago period. Now that the Revitalizing brand has achieved full distribution, Maybelline is out to continue the momentum within its existing doors. The new products will be shipped in February. Called Lip Indulgence, the new lipstick will boast intensive and time-released moisturizing benefits, rather than the transfer-proof, long-wearing clams that are currently dominating the mass market. "Through research we have found that 66 percent of women of all ages have dry, chapped lips," said Claudia DiMartino, group marketing manager for Revitalizing. "Older women may experience the problem more, but it does affect women of all ages." In keeping with Revitalizing's premium positioning, Lip Indulgence will be packaged in a weighted gold metal case and have a suggested retail price of $6.75 for each of the 12 shades. Revitalizing's signature lip color, which sells in a black case with gold trim, is $5.25 for each of the 36 shades. In addition to 18 emollients, Lip Indulgence contains vitamin E and SPF 15 and purports to moisturize for up to four hours. The item also incorporates anti-feathering properties, a problem that many older women have when using traditional lipsticks. It is also a complaint of women of all ages who use moisturizing formulas, which tend to migrate. While advertising plans have not yet been finalized, DiMartino said that a magazine and TV campaign for Lip Indulgence will break in April and that it will describe the item's curative effects, rather than its purported benefits for older women. "When we first launched the line, our campaigns had an announcer ask models how old they were," Wills said. "The model would lie about it and their real ages would flash in the corner of the screen. But in January, we launched a new campaign for Revitalizing mascara that just talked about how it built up thin lashes. Sales skyrocketed, and so we decided that this was the type of advertising approach we needed to take." Industry sources estimated that Maybelline will back Revitalizing with $15 million worth of advertising next year, roughly the same budget it had for this year. To compliment the new lipstick, Revitalizing at the same time will launch six mechanical lip pencils designed to maintain their points without sharpening. The pencils, which were created to match the brand's entire lipstick range, will retail for $5.50 each. Maybelline is also tweaking its existing Revitalizing assortment. The company is taking its pressed and loose powders out of their boxes so that consumers can better examine their shades. By February, Revitalizing's 12 eye shadows and six blushes will have been updated to be more neutral and wearable. "We are dealing with a much more sophisticated consumer than we first anticipated we would get," DiMartino said. Meanwhile, the Revitalizing display will now contain signs that will describe each product's benefits and the type of problems they address. The company is also more closely linking the brand to its parent company. Ads for Revitalizing and in-store displays will now be tagged with the Maybelline logo. "We found that many consumers were confused about where they should go to buy the brand. This will leave no doubt in their minds," Wills said. "We were the first brand on the market to speak to this segment, and it has been a learning curve for us. But we now feel that through taking a more [research and development] and problem-solution approach, Revitalizing will be able to reach its full potential."
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