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Beauty Roundup: January 16, 2009

Wet ‘n Wild has a fascinating history and is an example of a brand with amazing staying power.

Wet ‘n Wild’s 30 Years

It was a party that would have made Stanley Acker proud. Acker, who passed away last year, was the creative force behind Wet ‘n Wild cosmetics. New owners, Markwins, honored the brand last night by showing products through the decades and launching a bevy of new items for 2009.

Shawn Haynes, senior vice president marketing and global brand development, started out with the founding year — 1979. “The economy was bad then, too, and the founders had the foresight to create a 99 cent line,” Haynes said as he pointed to a table of original packages highlighted by artifacts of the time, such as Elton John’s “Captain Fantastic” album.

As the economy improved, Wet ‘n Wild maintained budget pricing, but colors and products reflected the Madonna influences of the Eighties, the “Sex and the City” style of the Nineties, leading once again to the need for quality at value prices with the lineup for 2009.

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Beauty editors sipped on drinks appropriate for the decades such as Cosmos from the Nineties. Many, of course, were not even born when Wet ‘n Wild debuted.

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Wet ‘n Wild has a fascinating history and is an example of a brand with amazing staying power. Despite being bounced around from myriad owners, the name is still recognized by women as fashionable colors that won’t break the bank. Wet ‘n Wild was merged under the same company that owned budget rival AM Cosmetics, but management quickly discovered that Wet ‘n Wild could be the stronger of the two and efforts were put behind that brand.

Markwins has done much to honor the history, while freshening up the brand. Among the highlights of the new items are:
*Lash Intense Mascara — a mascara with a brush that defines, separates, lengthens and volumizes lashes.
*MegaEyes Crème Eyeliner — inspired by higher-priced premium brands, this blendable cream liner doubles as an eye shadow.
*I-Sparkle Eye Shadow — A palette of shimmery color worn individually or blended.
*Ultimate Minerals Eye Shadow — A sheer wash of color in a loose-powder mineral shadow.

Markwins’ executives also said its Beauty Benefits line was getting more distribution and will shortly be added to Duane Reade in a special wing. The company mentioned other big news to come, including an adjusting foundation, midseason launches and news for its blockbuster kits. The firm is out to prove it will be around to celebrate its 40th anniversary in 10 years.

People, Place and Things

A few words with Pericles Stamatiades, chairman for Beauty Care at Johnson & Johnson. Though beauty care is a small percentage of Johnson & Johnson’s $60 billion-plus portfolio, Stamatiades stressed the multibillion-dollar business is the fastest-growing category within the pharmaceutical and medical device behemoth’s consumer division.

“The first opportunity is to grow where we are strong. Our antennae are up [for new opportunities], but there is still so much growth where we are [in skin care],” Stamatiades said. For example, the firm purchased Aveeno in 1999 and has since “tripled its sales,” but J&J “has not done all the work for it to be global,” he said.

“There are 50 percent of customers we have not met because we are not sold where they are [shopping.] There is another world out there. In China, you have to be sold in a department store. In Brazil, 60 percent of the market is door to door. I am a big believer of customized marketing,” he said.

What’s In Store

Aveeno Lathers Up: Aveeno has made its market in skin care with its natural positioning, now it hopes to do the same in hair with a new launch.

ECRM Does Dallas: This week’s ECRM show had a strong showing of retailers who told suppliers $9.99 is today’s magic price point and that they need to offer more products aimed at value-conscious consumers.