By  on January 20, 2006

NEW YORK — Revlon Inc. sees a future with women over 50.

The beauty firm's new cosmetics brand, Vital Radiance, which will begin rolling out this month, throws a megawatt spotlight on mature women. It's a consumer group, Revlon executives say, that has felt largely ignored by the beauty industry. Speaking directly to the beauty concerns of older women, the company will break a multimillion-dollar marketing campaign for Vital Radiance on Monday.

"Recognition is powerful," said Rochelle Udell, executive vice president and chief creative officer for Revlon, who added that in a youth-obsessed culture, women over 50 have become "invisible."

"This consumer has found that as she has aged, the makeup she'd used for years no longer works for her," said Michele Johnson, vice president of marketing for Revlon. "She knows that she needs a change."

The advertising campaign — which was previewed on "Good Morning America" Wednesday — features two women in their early 50s, baring fine lines and all. When scouting for spokesmodels to represent the brand, Vital Radiance looked for women who embodied confidence and playfulness, noted Udell.

In the TV spots, the pair speaks candidly about their wrinkles and mature skin. Ads also introduce Vital Radiance's makeup application system of "Prepare. Color. Finish."

Each print and television advertisement directs viewers to the brand's beauty center, 1-800-Radiant, manned by Vital Radiance beauty specialists. The hotline is also called out on Vital Radiance's in-store display and on packaging for each product. Callers divulge their beauty needs to Vital Radiance beauty specialists, who are available from 7 a.m. to midnight. The consultant then creates a beauty profile for the caller, which she can also access through vitalradiance.com.

"The beauty adviser recommends product for her needs and sends her a sample to try before she even enters the store," explained Johnson.

The Web site mimics that experience, and includes application tips from iconic makeup artist Frances Hathaway, who has worked with celebrities, such as Susan Sarandon and Claudia Schiffer. Some of Hathaway's tips include using the Vital Radiance Foundation Brush to apply foundation to the under-eye area without removing eyeglasses and using the Smoothing Face Primer for a more natural look.Vital Radiance's 4-foot in-store display groups the product range under the three headers: "Prepare: Smooth & Correct," "Color: Energize Your Look" and "Finish: Add Dimension." It is also peppered with phrases, such as "glide and blend effortlessly" and "won't settle into lines."

Price points for Vital Radiance are on the "premium plus" end of the mass market. They range from the Smoothing Lip Primer for $13.50 to the Moisture Covering Compact Makeup for $20, with most items selling for $14.50 each. Revlon executives would not comment on sales. However, industry sources expect Vital Radiance, along with the revamp of the Almay line — Revlon's two biggest initiatives this year — to generate first-year retail sales of $180 million.

One buyer said the line might help drugstores attract women who have left the category out of frustration or who generally shop for cosmetics in department stores. As far as Revlon is concerned, that's all part of the plan.

"We can pull this consumer back into the category by developing products that are right for her," said Johnson.

"This is a generation that redefined 40," said Udell. "And we're doing the same with 50."

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