NEW YORK — Estée Lauder is eyeing a top slot in the mascara business with its latest entry into the category.With MagnaScopic Maximum Volume Mascara, a new lash-building formula that will launch in March, the brand is looking to place three mascaras in the top 10, said Daniel Annese, vice president of marketing, North America, for Estée Lauder. Two of Lauder’s existing mascaras, More than Mascara and Illusionist, currently rank fourth and second, respectively, he said. "We’re looking at the business in terms of [functions]," said Peter Lichtenthal, senior vice president of global marketing for Estée Lauder, calling the eye category "a high priority" for the brand. "For our last mascara launch, Illusionist, we focused on curling. With MagnaScopic, we’re focusing on the thickening segment, which is currently the second largest and the fastest growing." And, noted Carlota Macieira-Coehlo, vice president of global makeup marketing for Estée Lauder, "with this strategy, we’re aiming to build business by drawing in new customers, not cannibalizing existing ones." The strategy, thus far, seems to be working. Lichtenthal noted that year-to-date, Estée Lauder’s business in the mascara category is up 19 percent globally. "When your mission is to dominate a product category, the challenge becomes heightened," noted Anne Carullo, senior vice president of global innovation for Estée Lauder. "Most thickening mascaras just add bulk to the lashes; we wanted a thin formula that would thicken lashes."Enter Expandex, the proprietary technology behind the formula. Expandex is a lofting complex with lightweight spherical particles, which form a matrix that is attracted to the surface of the lash, Carullo explained. "The gel-like base wraps each lash with product, enabling lashes to be built to 300 percent of their original thickness," she said. The formula also includes silk and jojoba to condition lashes.To maximize intensity, Carullo noted, a process called ultrasonic dispersion was employed. The process grinds pigments to the smallest possible size, allowing concentrated color —?as much as 30 percent extra pigments — to mix with the lofting complex’s lightweight silica, she explained. "The result is the most intense color you’ll find in a mascara," she said.The brush is also a key part of the equation, Carullo said. "This mascara uses a brush with technologically advanced, hollow bristle fibers along with a design that creates a reservoir to hold the ideal amount of formula to coat each lash," she said. "As well, the bristles are triangular, which enables the optimal amount of formula to be removed from the tube, and the perfect amount of mascara to be delivered to each lash." The mascara is available in black, brown, purple and blue, each retailing for $20. It will be available in Lauder’s full U.S. distribution of more than 2,200 department and specialty store doors in March, and will launch globally at the same time. While none of the executives would comment on projected first-year sales, industry sources estimated that the mascara would do more than $20 million at retail in the U.S. in its first year on counter, and that more than $2.5 million would be spent on advertising and promotion for the U.S. market. Print advertising, featuring spokesmodel Carolyn Murphy in a racing helmet, breaks in April fashion, beauty and lifestyle magazines, said Annese. TV advertising will also be in the media plan for March, marking the first time that Lauder has used TV for a mascara launch since the launch of More than Mascara 10 years ago, he said. The launch will also be backed up with an aggressive sampling plan, designed to get more than three million samples into the hands of consumers by yearend 2003.

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