The Platineum ad.

Lancome hopes to mine gold from the silver-haired crowd this fall with Platineum, a new anti-aging moisturizer targeted at women 60-plus.

NEW YORK — Lancome hopes to mine gold from the silver-haired crowd this fall with Platineum, a new anti-aging moisturizer targeted at women 60-plus.

The launch will be Lancome’s first time breaking new demographic ground with an older age group. It also appears to be a directional move for the industry, considering the relative vitality of the skin care category and the ballooning spending power of baby boomers.

Platineum rounds out Lancome’s skin care portfolio in terms of demographics. It introduces a new calcium delivery system intended to strengthen thinning, fragile skin and improve the skin’s support structure, said Nina White, deputy general manager of Lancome.

“Skin care is extremely strategic to our portfolio, and we are the number one player in antiaging skin care,” said White, who noted that Lancome has four products in the the top 10 in the category. “We are strategically continuing to build that business, and consider this product a milestone in our portfolio for many reasons. Chief among them: This is a true scientific breakthrough, and we are also targeting a new demographic.”

The calcium technology — hydroxy apatite — that is Platineum’s point of difference was developed based on research done by Dr. Peter Elias, a professor of dermatology at the University of California at San Francisco. According to Elias, who has been researching the permeability of ingredients in the skin for more than 25 years, this type of calcium molecule is able to penetrate the stratum corneum and help reinforce the barrier function of the skin.

While it’s widely known that calcium deficiencies in older women can lead to bone loss, it’s less widely known that they can also adversely affect skin, making it thin and weak, added Peter Foltis, director of skin care research and development for Lancome Laboratories. Lancome’s solution: a proprietary calcium hydroxy apatite complex that includes ginseng and purified yeast extract. The combination, said Foltis, also helps to create a tight bond between surface cells, and boosts lipid production — which, in turn, assists in producing keratin, a protein that helps protect skin density.

Results of repeated studies show that the 60-plus age group has an intense interest in skin care, said Kris Davenport, vice president of skin care marketing for Lancome. “We saw a key market gap and are going after it,” said Davenport, referring to the lack of products now aimed at sixtysomethings. “And the technology is ideal for this age group. The most dramatic dropoff of calcium in the skin is seen after the age of 60, and this age group will see the most dramatic results from Platineum.”

This story first appeared in the June 17, 2005 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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Platineum will be launched in September in Lancome’s full distribution, about 2,200 department and specialty store doors in the U.S. A 2.6-oz. jar will retail for $132.

While none of the executives would comment on projected sales or advertising spending, industry sources estimated that Platineum would do about $18 million at retail in the U.S. in its first year on counter, and that the company would spend about $6 million on advertising and promotion.

National advertising, in an advertorial format, will begin breaking in October magazines, including Harper’s Bazaar, Town & Country, Departures, AARP and Southern Living. Lancome plans to run both double-page and single-page versions, said Davenport.

Lancome will distribute more than 1.4 million samples of Platineum, noted Davenport, and it will be merchandised at counter with Absolue, the brand’s $122 antiaging moisturizer aimed at women 50-plus who are experiencing menopause.

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