By  on February 3, 2006

NEW YORK — Following sales declines, Max Factor has tapped its best chance of capturing the fashion-forward, makeup aficionado it calls its ‘target customer': Pat McGrath.

McGrath, perhaps one of the world's most-respected makeup artists, was named Procter & Gamble's beauty creative design director in September 2004. She was behind Cover Girl's Custom Compacts, launched in July, which introduced the customization concept to the mass market. And now, she has touched every point of Max Factor's new look, including color choice, product development and creating a glamorous image for the brand's spokesperson, Carmen Electra. Restaged products are shipping to mass retailers now.

With sales decreases affecting the brand over the past two years, a change for Max Factor was not unexpected. Sales data from Information Resources Inc. shows that for 2005, overall sales of Max Factor items slipped 4.2 percent to $65.6 million in food, drug and mass stores, excluding Wal-Mart. However, the sales decrease narrowed from the prior year, when sales fell 16 percent to $68.5 million. Also, a P&G spokesperson pointed out that for the last six months of 2005, IRI data showed Max Factor grew faster than the top four mass beauty brands.

"We wanted to take Max Factor and make it modern and fashion-forward through products and color and expert makeup artistry," said Gina Drosos, general manager of Procter & Gamble Beauty. Customers, too, felt the current line needed to be modernized and more relevant, she said.

A number of the new items fall under the MAXeye Collection. Shadows combine three coordinating colors in one compact, formulated for both wet and dry use, and will retail for $4.75 each. Eyeliners range in color from metallic silver to black, and retail for $6.25 each. Lash Perfection Mascara uses plastic bristles to reach every lash and will sell for $7.75. Colour Perfection Luxe Glosses have been designed with high levels of petrolatum for high shine, and are available in 13 shades selected by McGrath, to sell for $5.59.

But not all is new. Many Max Factor favorites, such as LipFinity, Pan-Cake and Pan-Stik are still available and have received sleek, modern black packaging. There is also a new brand logo that uses stage lights to spell out Max Factor.TV and print ads featuring Electra break this month and in March, respectively. Her image will also be prominently featured on new store fixtures, which are shipping to retailers now. Electra was chosen in June to represent the brand "for her glamorous beauty."

"She has an updated, fresh look and a contagious energy and fun spirit that's appealing to women. She is very versatile, she doesn't sit still," said Drosos.

And not unexpectedly, Max Factor has slimmed down its distribution. "We have proactively resized the brand to focus on our most productive doors where the consumer is shopping. We expect to be in just over 10,000 doors," by March, said Drosos.CF

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