Definity: A New Wrinkle for P&G

This summer Procter & Gamble is raising the bar in the antiaging segment with a new product line formulated to perform beyond reducing the appearance of wrinkles and improving skin texture.

NEW YORK — This summer Procter & Gamble is raising the bar in the antiaging segment with a new product line formulated to perform beyond reducing the appearance of wrinkles and improving skin texture — factors that have become point-of-entry in the cutthroat category. Olay Definity, as the new line is called, addresses a woman’s skin tone, namely the spots and hyperpigmentation she’s accrued over the years from sunning and the environment. It’s these spots, usually brown or red, combined with a lack of reflecting light, that can make women look older, according to a P&G blind study.

“While texture is important to give a glow, [skin tone] gives luminescence,” said Lauren Thaman, global director, P&G Beauty Science.

Definity’s Essential Glucosamine Complex, a combination of glucosamine and niacinamide, aims to target the spots that develop naturally when exposed to the sun but never return to their original state. Olay clinical studies claim that Definity can reduce the appearance of these spots by up to 78 percent. In addition to skin tone, Definity is also formulated to enhance collagen and minimize the appearance of wrinkles. The line includes three products.

There’s Olay Definity Penetrating Foaming Moisturizer, a foam modeled after liquid-type skin products used by many women in Asia. The foam has “incredible spread and 15 times the volume of a cream,” said Thaman.

A Correcting Protective Lotion with SPF 15 is designed to protect skin from further sun damage while increasing skin tone.

Intense Hydrating Cream contains high levels of glycerin for moisturization, as well as active ingredients to reduce the appearance of spots and wrinkles.

Products will retail for $27.99 each.

“We really believe this was the sweet spot for an excellent benefit at a good value,” said Michael Kuremsky, general manager, Olay Skin Care.

Tackling pigment issues is a very Asian way of approaching skin care, said Thaman, who explained that these women don’t generally get wrinkles as their first sign of aging, they get spots. American women, on the other hand, get wrinkles first, then spots.

Definity seeks to bring a new level to the antiage skin care at the mass level, seeing that it will be the first product on shelves to use technology to focus on results other than wrinkles and texture.

This story first appeared in the April 28, 2006 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

“Definity offers a whole new benefit, one that is meaningful, measurable and noticeable,” Thaman said. For best results, Thaman said the foam and lotion should be used in the morning and the cream applied at night for about eight weeks.

Definity, which has been in development for seven years, is not the first in the beauty industry to take on tone. Thaman acknowledged products on the market use hydroquinone, mulberry, strawberry and kojic acid to provide similar benefits, but some of them, mainly hydroquinone, can have negative side effects on some consumers, such as skin irritation.

Delivering a new benefit to consumers is how Olay aims to stay on top of the skin care category. In 2003, Olay launched Regenerist, a line with an exclusive form of pentapeptide. And in 2000, there was Total Effects, which revolutionized mass antiage skin care with new formulas. To date, Regenerist is the leading skin care brand in mass stores, followed by Total Effects, according to Kuremsky. Information Resources Inc. tracks Regenerist sales at $86.8 million for the latest 52-week period ended March 19, in food, drug and mass stores, excluding Wal-Mart. Sales of Total Effects were $68.5 million for the same period. While Definity offers technological breakthroughs, it may not necessarily appeal to Regenerist and Total Effects users since Olay sees the items as meeting the needs of a new consumer.

Definity replaces Regenerist as P&G’s largest skin care effort, in terms of both technology and marketing efforts. Industry sources estimate Definity could generate between $110 million and $115 million in first-year sales supported by a $50 million ad budget. To ensure a smooth and successful launch, Olay is working retailer by retailer to see that each has a tailored approach suitable to the store and its shopper. “This is not a vanilla type of thing. We will make a lot of noise about this,” Kuremsky said.

The ‘this’ Kuremsky referred to is high-definition technology, the marketing spin that will surround Definity in advertisements and in-store merchandising to communicate the new technology to women. “The notion of high definition in our culture is that things can be seen much better in closeup. We realize that our consumers really live their lives in closeup — on the street, in the workplace and in their relationships.” Testers of the foaming item will be provided at-shelf, as will a “skin transformation visual,” which will show how skin can look prior to use, days after use and eight weeks after use.

Definity enters stores in July; TV and print ads are scheduled to break later that month. Ads, as well as interactive and Web-based efforts, will address Definity’s skin tone and skin discoloration results. Patient recommendations of skin professionals will also be used to grow the brand.