NEW YORK — When Cover Girl entered the market 35 years ago, it began with a single product: Cover Girl Clean Liquid Makeup. Now the company hopes to broaden the brand’s appeal with a fragrance-free version.
In late April, Procter & Gamble will introduce Cover Girl Clean Fragrance Free Liquid Makeup and Pressed Powder. At the same time, it will launch a second version of its Professional Mascara product, called Professional Mascara Straight Brush, and three new shades of its Invisible Concealer to meet the needs of darker skinned women.
“For the time being, we feel we have identified all major segments of the market, so these three new products will build on our strengths,” said Larry Aronson, director of sales for Cover Girl fragrances and cosmetics.
Clean Makeup, which has always been treated with P&G’s Noxzema Medicated skin cream, is the number one foundation in the mass market. Many retailers, however, have said that the brand’s Noxzema fragrance has been holding it back from having even bigger sales.
“I’d say a fragrance-free version has been long overdue,” said Kathy Covault, merchandising manager of cosmetics and fragrance at Drug Emporium in Powell, Ohio. “A lot of people don’t like fragranced products in general and Noxzema has a very distinct and strong scent.”
“This is definitely the way to go,” agreed Nancy Germano, cosmetics buyer for Harmon Drug in Fairfield, N.J. “We do very well with Clean Makeup as it is. The fragrance-free version will only help to grow the franchise.”
According to industry sources, last year the Clean Makeup line of foundation and powders had a retail volume of approximately $40 million. Sources expect the fragrance-free version will help increase Clean Makeup’s sales by as much as 20 percent.
Clean Makeup Fragrance Free will be available in 10 shades of liquid makeup and 10 shades of pressed powder with a suggested retail price of $4.25 per bottle and per compact.
Professional Mascara Straight Brush was designed to draw on the success of the original Professional Mascara with a curved brush that was launched in 1978.
“Most women who use a mascara do have a preference as to the shape of the brush,” Aronson said. According to industry sources, Professional Mascara ranks in the top three best-selling mass market mascaras with estimated sales of $21 million.
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Sources estimated that the straight brush version will increase the brand’s total sales by at least 10 percent.
The new mascara will be available in three shades, each with a suggested retail price of $4.25 per tube.
Cover Girl is also planning to broaden its reach with ethnic consumers by the addition of three darker shades of its Invisible Concealer product. Each tube will have a suggested retail price of $4.
Cover Girl first started targeting ethnic women last July, when the company extended its line of color cosmetics by 72 stockkeeping units to include shades for darker-skinned women. The initial expansion included 10 shades of pressed powders, and foundations, three shades of finishing powders, 16 of blush, six eyeshadow quads, 12 lip shades and seven nail enamels.
The products were not only created in appropriate shades but in revised formulations. According to executives, they contain translucent titanium dioxide to reduce the possibility of chalkiness or streaking that traditional formulations can cause in women of color.
Industry sources estimate that the 72 existing sku’s for darker women and the new concealers will generate 5 percent of Cover Girl’s total sales in the first 12 months.
Sources projected that Cover Girl will have retail sales of an estimated $540 million this year, which means the ethnic extensions would have sales of $27 million.
Cover Girl’s new spring plans come on the heels of a strong 1993 fourth quarter, which Aronson credits to dynamic spring launches earlier in the year and the success of the shade extensions.
Cover Girl’s fourth-quarter market share in unit sales totaled 25.5 percent of the 768 million units of color cosmetics sales, up from 24 percent in the same period last year.
Last May, Cover Girl introduced Ultimate Finish Liquid Powder Makeup, which now commands the number two spot in mass market foundations, second only to Clean Makeup. Last year, during October, November and December, the foundation had sales of about $15 million.
The company claims Ultimate Finish provides the full, even coverage of a liquid formulation with the soft, natural finish and convenience of a powder. Each of the 20 shades is $5.95.
“We are doing extremely well with Ultimate Finish,” noted Harmon’s Germano. “People just seem to really like it. In the last few years there have been a lot of successful department store products like this but Ultimate Finish has a much more reasonable price point.”
Also fueling Cover Girl’s strong fourth-quarter growth was the introduction of Remarkable Mascara. Sources estimate the brand now has $20 million in retail sales. “That was a good launch for us,”said Carl Lynch, cosmetics buyer for I Got It at Gary’s. “We promoted it well and we positioned it at the end of the Cover Girl aisle so it was the first thing people saw.”
“I have to say that Cover Girl on the whole is a great line for us and continues to be a great line for us,” said Carol Allman, director of merchandising of cosmetics for the Jack Eckerd Corp. in Clearwater, Fla. “It is really one of our most profitable lines. Some of the other big brands seem to have been struggling to keep up in the last few years. Cover Girl is one of the few that hasn’t.”