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NEW YORK — With groovy, wall-sized images of Cybill Shepherd and Cheryl Tiegs beaming out over a light-filled downtown loft, Cover Girl took the beauty press for a walk down makeup memory lane this week. Not surprisingly, the history-studded stroll just happened to wind up at a display focused on two upcoming products and an entirely new in-store look.

Partnering with the Smithsonian and trend expert Michael Kucmeroski, the Cover Girl team pulled together an impressive array of artifacts and images from the last 50 years. Amid curated vignettes of furniture, tchotchkes and ad visuals arranged by decade, the “House of Beauty” installation traced the history of the brand’s iconic “clean makeup” philosophy. (Note to beauty-trivia buffs: It started with Procter & Gamble’s incorporation of foundation pigments into its flagship Noxzema skin cream.)

Cover Girl’s near-term future, however, will include the launches of TruBlend Pressed Powder and Outlast Liquid Makeup, both of which are slated to hit the market in January. The wall unit, described as an “overhaul” by Anne Martin, vice president of global cosmetics and beauty marketing for P&G, will also be unveiled nationally at the start of the year.

The new pressed powder, which will retail for $7, borrows heavily from TruBlend Liquid Makeup’s “true to you” shade-matching technology. According to the company, just six shades of the sheer, natural-finish powder matches 97 percent of all skin tones.

Following on the heels of Outlast All-Day Lipcolor and Outlast Smoothwear Lipcolor, Outlast Liquid Makeup breaks fresh ground for the brand. Billed as the first-ever two-step foundation, it includes a “base coat” and a “color topcoat.” The base coat, which functions as a primer of sorts by evening out skin tone and texture, also shields the skin from UV ray damage through the incorporation of an SPF 14-level sunscreen. The color topcoat, which emulsifies on contact with the skin, is transfer-resistant and meant to stay color-true for hours. The product will retail for $8.99 and is available in 15 shades.

Despite the two-step process, Martin said the new product is, in fact, a time-saver. “It’s actually meant to provide an easier way to get a natural look that lasts all day,” she said. “We know women already put on different products anyway. So now she can get all-in-one moisturizer, primer and pore minimizer. And with the nozzle right next to that, she can add color.

This story first appeared in the October 29, 2004 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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“That’s the beauty of a company like P&G,” added Martin. “We’re experts in both skin care and cosmetics, so we can really take advantage of that.”

Cover Girl will support both items with print advertising, breaking in February books, as well as television. While Molly Sims will represent the pressed powder, Elsa Benitez will be the face of the liquid makeup.

The company does not break out figures, but industry sources estimate Cover Girl is looking to do a combined first-year retail volume of $60 million for the two items.

Also on deck for the brand is a new retail merchandising unit. According to Martin, the last major in-store revamp for the brand was put in place in 2001. While that retooling involved the incorporation of cool, warm and neutral color-typing and “Tiny Tries” low-cost sampling, the new wall unit is even more shopper-friendly. Among the highlights: clearly marked, zoned areas for “face,” “color” and “eyes”; the uncarding of several key products — including liquid foundation — for easier shade selection, and the addition of miniature versions of key advertising visuals so shoppers can connect the mental dots between the products they see in print and on TV and what’s on offer right in front of them.

“The shopper is boss,” said Martin, “but she’s just bombarded with products. She says, ‘I get to the store, there are thousands of shopkeeping units, and I need help sorting my way through.’ So we heard her loud and clear.

“We’re all about ‘easy, breezy, beautiful,’” added Martin, referencing Cover Girl’s famous slogan. “So it’s important that we offer a fun shopping experience.”

— Dana Wood