By  on July 16, 2010

NEW YORK ­— It may be a man’s world, but up until now men truly haven’t been served by a lip balm made specifically for them.

While there are male-friendly options — mostly pricy and sold in specialty stores, such as Kiehl’s — these lip balms are packaged in traditional cylinders that can bulge in pockets.

Seeking to offer men something easier to tote and designed specifically for them, Lotta Luv is introducing ChapFix.

“We like to say it is lip balm engineered for men,” said Steph Fogelson, president and chief executive officer of Lotta Luv, a company best known for its candy licensed lip and beauty products aimed at tweens and sold in stores such as Claire’s.

The idea came about when Fogelson’s son Alex questioned why there weren’t lip balms for guys. “There are products guys use, but nothing really made just for them,” said Fogelson of the patented encasement for the mint-flavored gloss.

“The package is not round and bulgy, it lays flat in a pant pocket,” he elaborated. There are also perforations on the side to allow for easy gripping. The package is a masculine black and red and the name is a clever play on the use of the word “chap.”

Men don’t need to sacrifice quality, said designer Sean Patrick Smith, who noted the formula features an all-natural base that includes beeswax, mineral oil, coconut oil, aloe vera and vitamin E. It also contains SPF 15 with both UVA and UVB protection and a PABA-free formula.

Fogelson believes men have the potential to account for as much as 25 percent of lip balm sales. The incremental sales could help boost the lip treatment market, valued at $534 million by ACNielsen. The category’s current sales are flat for the 52-week period ended June 12, compared to the same period the year before in food, drug and mass outlets, including Wal-Mart. The thought is that men will flock to ChapFix instead of stealing a wife or girlfriend’s balm. The suggested retail for ChapFix is $3.50.

ChapFix, which was test marketed in a New York specialty store with success, will initially be available on a dedicated Web site, chapfix.com. The company also hopes to link with retailers, which could include sporting goods merchants, men’s stores and mass chains. There are several merchandising vehicles, such as clip strips, that can be hung near the men’s grooming section and prepacks that can be presented on shelves in men’s grooming departments or at checkouts. The nameplate can be used, the company hopes, for further penetration into the men’s market.

Lotta Luv isn’t the only firm realizing men represent opportunities for incremental sales, noted Charles W. Cohen, director of business development. In fact, major manufacturers such as Beiersdorf, Gillette, Unilever and L’Oréal are putting more muscle behind men’s products. Lotta Luv hopes its expertise in lip balm combined with products that dovetail nicely with the bevy of new men’s launches will make ChapFix a hit.

ChapFix will be pitted against a stable of competitors. The leading lip balm/cold medication in drugstores, according to Symphony IRI Group data for the 52-week period ended February 21, is Abreva, with sales of $55.6 million. That’s followed by private label products with volume of $20.3 million, Burt’s Bees at $17.9 million, Carmex at $15 million, Blistex with sales of $13.3 million, ChapStick with $11.2 million, ChapStick Classic with $9.6 million, ChapStick Lip Moisturizer with $6.3 million, Mentholatum Soft Lips with $4.9 million and Nivea A Kiss of Moisture with sales of $4.6 million.

To hammer home the manly image, Lotta Luv has provocative tag lines such as: “Stop Using Your Girlfriend’s Lip Balm,” “Sometimes Smaller is Better….Sometimes,” “Your Beard Should Be the Only Thing Scratching Her Face,” “Give Yourself a CHAPFIX,” and “There Should Only Be One Bulge in Your Pants; It Shouldn’t Be Your Lip Balm.”

In addition to the Web site, there are social-media efforts behind both ChapFix and all Lotta Luv brands, including Facebook and Twitter. On the candy license end, Lotta Luv just added Airheads and the Topps candy brands to its large portfolio of more than 200 names. Of special note is success of Wonka products as well as scented nail polishes. “We will also be launching scented stationery for the holidays with properties such as Airheads, Tootsie Roll and Hershey’s,” said Marie Todd, senior vice president.

Lotta Luv will also be kicking off print advertising in select teen publications, according to Fogelson. The company also hopes for separate advertising in men’s magazines for ChapFix.

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