NEW YORK — With the launch of its Sensation Totale Continuous-C Perfecting Complex, Lancôme is hoping to draw new consumers to the counter.

“We see this item as a universal product, and one that will be a big part of our skin care portfolio going forward,” said Odile Roujol, deputy general manager and senior vice president of marketing for the Lancôme division of L’Oréal USA. “We have a strong hold in the skin care market, with huge opportunities ahead. We also see this launch as being in line with our goal of introducing younger consumers to the Lancôme brand — and helping our department store partners to attract new consumers.”

Elana Drell-Szyfer, vice president of marketing for treatment, fragrance, sun, body and hair for Lancôme, noted the key ingredient of the new product is vitamin C, disseminated through a proprietary time-release system that works with the skin’s natural enzymatic activity to produce flawless-looking skin.

“Vitamin C is a highly volatile ingredient, and what is unique in ours is that it remains inert in the packaging and only is activated through an enzymatic process upon application,” said Drell-Szyfer. “Once it is applied, it remains on skin for up to 24 hours, so skin can draw it as needed. Because vitamin C is critical for skin, nail and hair health —?and has to be ingested or applied because the body doesn’t produce it naturally —?this is very important. The body uses very high levels of vitamin C during stress, as well.”

Also, she noted, vitamin C also has an exfoliating effect that improves the appearance of the skin.

In addition to vitamin C, the complex also includes optical diffusers for luminosity and silicon polymers to make skin feel soft. It is designed to amplify the effects of moisturizers that are then applied on top of it, but can also be used alone, said Drell-Szyfer.

Sensation Totale will retail for $45 for a one-ounce bottle, and will be available in Lancôme’s approximately 2,000 U.S. department and specialty store doors. The product launches first in the U.S. in mid-August, then rolls out in Europe and Asia in 2004.Although none of the executives would comment on projected first-year sales or advertising projections, industry sources estimated that Sensation Totale would do upward of $30 million at retail in its first year on counter in the U.S., and that about $8 million would be spent on advertising and promotion.

The advertising and promotion plan includes national print advertising breaking in September fashion, beauty and lifestyle magazines including Elle, In Style and Allure, as well as radio and outdoor ads and at least 1 million samples.

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