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Elizabeth Arden’s Next Chapter

Elizabeth Arden updated its Ceramide Capsules for the first time since they originally launched in 1990.

The race for legacy beauty brands trying to recruit younger customers rages on — with Elizabeth Arden the latest to unveil a slew of initiatives to cater to the digital-first set.

This week, the 107-year-old brand started to roll out the first of several programs planned for this year, starting with an update of its best-selling Ceramide Capsules. The company is looking to its heritage to fuel growth, and following the reformulated capsules will come revamped, in-store experiences based on its iconic spa, The Red Door by Elizabeth Arden.

This marks the first time Arden’s single-dose, individual capsules — the brand’s top-selling serum globally and best-selling product in the Ceramide franchise — have been updated since they launched in 1990. According to JuE Wong, president, Elizabeth Arden Brand, the Advanced Ceramide Capsules Daily Youth Restoring Serum is formulated with even more ceramides, increased levels of existing ceramides and now contain cholesterol. The capsules ship this week, and by the end of the month will be available at the brand’s over 3,500 global points of distribution. The product comes in 60-capsule jars or 90-capsule canisters, and retails for $78 and $98, respectively.

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The update to Arden’s hero product is limited to formulation, though, as Wong was clear that branding and packaging were kept nearly identical to the original.

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“We have such a rich heritage, and especially with the capsules — people recognize us for that. It’s an iconic look…It was very deliberate,” said Wong during an interview at a brand event Tuesday night.

She explained that this was done to recruit a Millennial consumer without alienating Arden’s loyal, more mature customer base — a twofold marketing conundrum shared by many legacy beauty brands. For Estée Lauder, this meant tapping Kendall Jenner as the face of the brand, but for Arden, it’s less about plastering a young face on ads and more about bringing to market innovative formulas.

Wong said the reformulation will be communicated largely via digital and social media outreach (organic and paid), and with help from two influencers the brand’s partnering with: Louise Roe and Serena Goh from The Spicy Stiletto.

“Social is not free. There is this perception that everything can happen virally,” Wong said. “[And] where there is high tech, there is high touch.”

She compared what the brand plans to do next to what Apple has done to revolutionize the retail experience. She said a series of high-touch experiences will launch in about 1,000 top doors in the U.S. by the end of March. Each space will be outfitted with a Red Door Speed Services experience that offers quick treatments ranging from one-minute makeup lessons to 15 to 30 minute facials.

There are six speed services available: the Booster Bar Customized Oxygen Blasts, which is lightly spraying an oxygen mist over your skin with four types of “blasts” available; Pollution Solution, the application of an antipollution sheet mask; Tone It Up Town Ceramide Lifting Massage; Pampered Hands Treatment, a hand massage that ties in the brand’s upcoming White Tea fragrance; Lady Liperty, a lip facial; The Eyes Have It, a cooling gel patch treatment followed by eye makeup application, and In a Red Door Minute Makeup Lesson, a one minute makeup lesson emphasizing the brand’s new eye range.

Kara Langan, Elizabeth Arden’s senior vice president, global marketing, maintained that pilots in the fall, including a handful in the U.S., Debenhams in the U.K. and Karstadt in Germany, yielded positive results. Already, The Red Door Experience has launched in select doors in Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, U.K., Germany, France and Spain. China, Taiwan and Korea will all open later this year.

Langan said that six to 12 Red Door Experiences, which include more extensive services from lengthier facials to massages, will open in places such as the brand’s boutique in Paris and Debenhams on Oxford Street in the U.K.

The two most significant programs for Arden might be rooted in product innovation and the in-store experience, but digital, a new fragrance and an edgier color range are key to the plan, too.

Tamara Steele, senior vice president of U.S. prestige at Arden, said new fragrance pillar White Tea is a departure from what the brand has done in the past. She called the scent, encased in an entirely white bottle, “modern” and “contemporary” with universal appeal. White Tea hits HSN in February and department stores in April. Similarly, eye makeup range, Eyes Wide Open, launches on counter this month. Comprised of eye shadow palettes, mascara and eyebrow gel, Steele said the emphasis was on customization and build-your-own color palettes.

“We’ve come full circle,” Steele said. “[We’re a] a serious skin-care brand with a beautiful lifestyle fragrance, and we’re topping it off with a fun, fashion color story.”