NEW YORK — Estee Lauder USA hopes one winner will beget another.
Lauder has taken the triple fruit-acid technology of its Fruition face lotion — the 1993 skin care record setter — and combined the anti-aging alpha-hydroxy ingredients with anti-oxidants and other elements.
The result is a new, completely different specialty treatment product called Revelation Retexturing Complex for the Hands and Chest.
The product, which will be launched Nov. 1, represents new territory for Lauder, since the company has no similar products designed to smooth and even out coloration of rough, discolored skin on the upper chest above the bust and on the hands. It also will be entering a category of the skin care market that is still in the making.
Dianne Osborne, vice president of treatment marketing, said Lauder conceived this product for the hands and upper chest because “both areas are equally neglected and equally damaged.”
“They both have similar exposure to radiation and abuse,” she said, referring to free radical oxidation triggered by sunlight and pollution.
“People do incredible things for their face, but don’t do anything for their hands and chest area.”
“This is the first repair product we’ve launched for use beyond the face,” said Robin Burns, president and chief executive officer of the division. “We think this will be an important business. We don’t have other products like it and it will not cannibalize sales.”
While Burns sees it as all plus business, she also expects Revelation to generate some serious numbers, especially with its hefty price point of $65 for a 1.75-oz. jar.
Although Lauder executives declined to discuss projections or budgets, industry sources say the company is aiming for a first-year volume equaling 5 to 10 percent of the division’s U.S. treatment business, which has been estimated at more than $250 million wholesale.
That would translate into a first-year wholesale volume for Revelation of $12 million to $25 million.
Osborne said the product will be aimed at women as young as 30, the age when skin damage often begins. It also will be merchandised as an initial preventative step, Osborne added.
Despite the presence of other products aimed at the throat, hands or body, Osborne said the Lauder product is different not only because it is designed for the hands and chest and it contains the Fruition formula, but also because it is designed to repair damaged skin and protect it from further harm.
While Lauder does not look at Revelation as a Fruition for the body, the potential for doing a hand-and-chest product first appeared during the development work on Fruition, according to Daniel Maes, vice president of research and development worldwide.
The Fruition technology — including octanoic and decanoic acids and sugar cane extracts — is a key part of the product, designed to reduce skin crepiness, or rough texture, and improve the clarity and evenness of skin tone by retexturing and smoothing the tissue.
The packaging consists of a cobalt blue jar with a gold cap, the same coloration as Fruition, intended to convey what Osborne called a “fruit-acid heritage.” There’s also the business heritage. As reported, Fruition generated sales of more than one million units in the five months after the January 1993 launch, establishing it as the top-selling product.
A different aspect is that the gel-creme is not colored the antiseptic white of most skin care products. Revelation is purple, which disappears when rubbed on the skin. Burns said the color was added simply for esthetics.
“Consumers want the product to perform,” Burns said, “but they also want the experience.”
Industry sources estimate that the division will spend $3 million to $5 million promoting and advertising the new product. The campaign will not include TV, executives noted, but Revelation will be backed by print ads in 10 to 12 magazines, plentiful co-op newspaper ads and promotional enclosures in store statement mailings.
Osborne said one reason Lauder developed Revelation was because there was no product like it in its claims and focus. But there are various products on the market for use on the throat, bust, hands and body.
La Prairie, for instance, launched an alpha-hydroxy body lotion in January and a similar hand cream in May as part of its Age Management series. The body lotion was $80 for five ounces and the hand cream was $65 for 3.4 ounces.
Lynne Florio, president of La Prairie, said her new body and hand products sold three to four times better than La Prairie’s older products, attributing the difference to the widespread success of alpha hydroxy anti-aging products for the face.
“The anti-aging and alpha-hydroxy products have opened a new opportunity,” she noted.
Jane Scott, vice president of cosmetics at Bloomingdale’s, and Michelle Williams, merchandise manager at Federated Merchandising, both agree that the market for specialty treatment products is beginning to form.
Scott described it as the “next phase” of skin care.
Williams noted that “it’s a big deal to women” to be able to get alpha hydroxy products for the body.