By  on May 12, 2006

NEW YORK — The Cosmetics Executive Women Beauty Insider's Choice Awards last Friday at the Waldorf-Astoria here drew a crowd of 1,400 beauty executives, but just 33 products came away with the coveted pink CEW awards seal, a Lalique crystal statue and, perhaps most important, bragging rights.

The winners were culled from 500 products entered by 180 beauty companies. The 13th annual awards, hosted by actor Mario Cantone, marked two major changes. Products were divided by price points rather than strict mass/class divisions. The finalists were determined by the votes of CEW's 4,000 members, while the winners were voted on by the CEW Board of Governors. Ernst & Young tabulated the ballots. In past years, the awards were determined solely by the voting of CEW's general membership and categories were divided among strict mass/class boundaries. Four categories were introduced this year: men's grooming, scented bath & body, antiaging and lip treatment.

CEW is also working with leading retailers, including CVS on the mass side and Federated Department Stores on the prestige side, to leverage the awards' considerable pull among consumers, noted Carlotta Jacobson, president of CEW. "It's important to us that we offer added value to our members," said Jacobson, who noted that many companies are using the seals at the counter to promote their awards. "The seal shows consumers that there is a valued third-party endorsement for the winners and finalists." To raise awareness, Jacobson also appears on the "Today" show each year to highlight the awards, and CEW pays to advertise the awards in several media outlets, including Allure.

CEW is also making it easier than ever for consumers to buy the products, said Jacobson. On the Web site cew.org, all of the winners are featured, most with a "Buy Now!" button, which bounces consumers to e-commerce partners, including macys.com, avon.com, cvs.com, sephora.com and ulta.com. Online promotions to many of these retailers' customer lists are also taking place, said Jacobson, and several manufacturers, including Shiseido, Aveeno and Eucerin, are already touting their wins in consumer materials.

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