NEW YORK — Showers aren’t just about getting clean anymore.

Procter & Gamble, the beauty behemoth that’s figured out how to keep lipstick on all day (Cover Girl Outlast), and how to consistently reinvigorate the world’s best selling shampoo (Pantene), has now concocted a body lotion that’s applied in the shower — and doesn’t wash off.

Adil Mehboob-Khan, vice president, global personal cleansing for P&G, is bullish on the success of Olay Moisturinse In Shower Body Lotion, the name of the new formula, not only because it creates a new segment in personal cleansing, but because Olay is eager to bring innovation to the stagnant personal cleansing category, quite like it has in skin care.

“Personal cleansing is a very solid business, but it has not had particular innovation,” Mehboob-Khan said.

The personal care business is approximately $200 million to $250 million in mass outlets, which includes body lotions, body washes, beauty bars, exfoliating scrubs and moisturizing mists. Moisturinse looks to generate $35 million to $45 million in first-year sales, according to industry sources.

Lotions, as good as they are, he explained, have drawbacks.

“A lot of people have dry skin, but only half use a lotion every day. Some people find the routine too burdensome,” according to Mehboob-Khan.

One insight is that once a woman is out of the shower she is out of her sanctuary, so the compliance for lotion usage is not as high as it could be.

P&G spoke with more than 3,000 women and found that the shower was an oasis to many women. Eight out of 10 of these women described themselves with dry skin but only 43 percent said they moisturized.

“Many walk out of the shower and forget to do it or become too busy,” said Wendy Brackett, an Olay senior scientist.“This brought us to think about using the shower to capitalize on moisturizing.”

In addition, P&G research found consumers believe their skin is most receptive to nourishment when it is warm and wet. And 92 percent of dermatologists agreed.Dr. Wendy Roberts, a clinical professor and dermatologist in private practice in Rancho Mirage, Calif., was one investigator participating in P&G’s 14-day Moisturinse study. Dr. Roberts said she found that “Moisturinse [extra formula] performed superior to the traditional out-of-shower body moisturizer after 14 days of use applied once a day.”

Dr. Roberts also attended this year’s American Academy of Dermatology conference in Washington, D.C., from Feb. 6-11, where posters revealed clinical results, visuals and graphs of Moisturinse to members of the medical community.

It was there that doctors also learned how Moisturinse works. According to Mehboob-Khan, a “high internal phase” technology is meant to allow the formula to deposit petrolatum — the product’s key moisturizer — on the skin without washing it away. A delicate balance of emulsifiers, such as hydroxy ethyl cellulose, is designed to ensure the proper amount of stickiness and tackiness so that Moisturinse will survive the rinsing and toweling off stages of showering.

The personal cleansing business is very segmented, with Dove as the market leader. But Olay’s reputation, which carries with it a skin care authority,has garnered its fair share, too. Olay’s market share in personal cleansing is at a 5 point share, according to Ted Keegan, P&G’s U.S. marketing director, with the company experiencing double-digit growth in 2003 due to bar soap sales and Olay’s new shea butter body wash. What Moisturinse can do for Olay’s market share, as well as the industry, looks positive.

“The beauty of this product is that it has no base. It doesn’t cannibalize existing business. It is incremental,” Keegan said.

Indeed, Moisturinse creates a totally new category, one that competitors are already looking to bank on.

“We are pretty confident by seeing some of the patent activity from the usual suspects that we will be ahead for quite a while,” said Keegan.

While creating a new category presents some benefits, challenges are also on the horizon. The first is getting consumers to understand the product. In explaining usage to consumers, P&G will likely compare Moisturinse to a hair conditioner, but for the body. Body washes, therefore, are like body shampoos. Packages already express this message.According to industry sources, a $45 million to $50 million TV, print and public relations advertising effort will help support Moisturinse’s June launch to food outlets, mass marketers and drugstores. In-store programs, such as displays, look to reach consumers as they enter beauty sections of stores and steer them toward the personal cleansing aisle, where Moisturinse will be merchandised, adjacent to Olay Body Wash.

Early sales results of Moisturinse have been promising. P&G has been selling Moisturinse on since February. On Feb. 8, more than 1,600 units sold in 48 hours, four times as much as P&G estimated. Olay Moisturinse is available in extra dry and normal-to-dry formulas and will retail for $4.99 for a 8.4-oz. container and $6.99 for a 15.2-oz. container.

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