NEW YORK — Avon Products Inc. has formed strategic alliances with Atlantic Records, University of Phoenix, American Legacy and the Makeup Alley Internet beauty site in a sharing of resources for the Aug. 1 launch of Avon’s new youth brand, Mark.

But even before the 250-stockkeeping-unit beauty line takes its first bow, there has been an about-face in Mark’s positioning. Mark originally had been envisioned as Avon’s teen brand, not only in marketing of products but also in the recruitment of young reps to form a new corporate generation, hence the name of the Mark division, Avon Future. But it has been recast as a young women’s brand, for ages 16 to 24.

That is a larger market, numbering 17.5 million young American women with $75 billion in domestic spending power, and the beauty products developed and marketed for them would have broader generational appeal, according to Deborah I. Fine, president of Avon Future. According to focus group studies, young women see themselves as 3 to 5 years older than their age. Moreover, a 44-year-old would have more likelihood of being interested in a product designed for a 24-year-old, than in an item aimed at a 15-year-old.

Also, the group is larger. According to the U.S. Census, there are 9.8 million females aged 15 to 19. In addition, the law requires that teens be at least 16 years old to be employed, and at least half the objective of Mark is to build the sales force of the future. It is one of the reasons that the brand will be aimed at college campuses. Young women are more sophisticated and have more entrepreneurial desire, says Avon, which points to research indicating that 49 percent of the 16-24 group lives either on or near colleges. In the older group, Avon claims to have already identified a core of 10 million, dubbed "daughters of Avon," who are related to company employees or closely associated with them.

The company also figures that the prospect of being a Mark rep will be seen as more glamorous than the alternatives. Avon claims that 59 percent of 16- to 24-year-old American women work in the food service industry.The primary selling vehicle will be a magalog, printed in English and Spanish, that will number 13 to 16 million copies and appear every four to six weeks. The first issue features a cover shot of two MTV veejays. Avon has set a $100 million sales target for the first full year.

The beauty products are priced on a par with the mass market, or 25 to 30 percent more expensive than Avon’s core brand. The 250 sku’s represent 70 percent of the Mark line. The rest includes accessories.

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