NEW YORK — Nivea has just introduced an antiage lotion for men, just don’t call it that.

In marketing parlance, the new Nivea For Men Q10 lotion is a “revitalizing” product, whereas the women’s Q10 cream, which launched in 1999, is for “wrinkle control.”

“Fit, firm and healthy looking are good key words to describe it,” noted Joseph Venezia, marketing manager for Nivea for Men, referring to the 1.7-oz. lotion that began hitting stores two weeks ago and will be in full mass distribution by October. “Right now we stay away from antiaging, that is a broader proposition.”

Regardless, Nivea’s Q10 lotion for men is the first known treatment item for men in the mass market. Venezia said it will appeal to the growing number of “metrosexuals” — the latest pop culture term for self-involved, city-living males. “Our guy is a professional, he watches what he eats, gets his nails done and this is somebody who is really concerned about his appearance.”

The men’s lotion is priced lower than the female counterpart at a suggested retail of $8.99, versus $10.99 for the original, to help ease men into the market. “For men, we found that getting close to that $10 point was a whole new area for them.” Although, in Manhattan, some retailers are pricing it above the SRP, Duane Reade is charging $9.99 and CVS, $9.49. For now, Walgreens is offering it at a discount, featuring it at $2 off the regular $8.99.

Beyond traditional shave creams, mass skin care manufacturers began creating dedicated men’s facial collections just three years ago. Nivea got into the field with several cleansers, including an exfoliating wash, and a moisturizing lotion with spf, an aftershave gel and an aftershave balm. Neutrogena soon followed with Neutrogena Men, and the U.K.’s King of Shaves entered the market with a shaving and cleanser collection.

But the U.S. market was not yet ready for a true men’s treatment item, said Venezia. Nivea Q10 Revitalizing lotion has been marketed successfully in some European markets for nearly two years, the largest being Germany, the U.K. and France. “Men’s grooming in Europe was more advanced, it just wasn’t time here,” said Venezia, adding, “But the market has changed dramatically.” The lotion was modified for the U.S., with less fragrance and a lighter consistency.The key ingredient is Q10, a co-enzyme that exists in the body naturally and turns food into energy for the cells, but levels decrease as you age. Applying Q10 to skin helps maintain firmness and gives skin vitality, said Venezia. The formula also contains vitamin E and provides SPF 15. The concept behind Q10 for men, said Venezia, is: “You exercise and eat right for your body, why ignore your face?”

The lotion is designed to appeal to a broad range of men, from a 21-year-old who wants to freshen up to a 50-year-old who wants to look younger, said Venezia. “In Europe, it is positioned as an antihangover item.”

Nivea Q10 for men is expected to reap first-year retail sales of between $8 million to $10 million, adding to the existing franchise, which is expected to hit $30 million by yearend.

To promote Q10, print ads with samples will appear in November books, followed by TV spots next year. A guerrilla sampling program also is planned for metro-area train stations in September. Samplers will be dressed as conductors and will hand out $1 coupons. Several men’s magazines are doing tie-in promotions including Maxim, Men’s Health and GQ.

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