NEW YORK — Rogaine will soon have a cousin in mass-market hair care.

In April, Progaine, a line of shampoos and conditioners developed by Rogaine marketer Pharmacia Consumer Healthcare, will hit shelves in drugstores, mass merchandisers and food chains nationwide.

Progaine, which, unlike Rogaine, contains no minoxidil (hair regrowth ingredient), targets women 35 and older who define themselves as having fine or thin hair, a demographic group about 24 million strong, according to Pharmacia. The brand, which promises “thicker” hair, “fullness” and “more volume,” consists of two shampoos, a conditioner, a two-in-one shampoo-conditioner and a volumizing root lifter. The offerings are billed as salon quality and are priced from $5.99 to $8.99.

According to Pharmacia, which compiled a category analysis using ACNielsen data, products that “define themselves as fine and thin hair care products” comprise a $545 million segment of “daily hair care” that as a whole is expected to grow 3 to 5 percent this year.

Pharmacia executives expect Progaine to garner a 10 percent share of this fine and thin category during its first year at retail.

Greg McCormick, vice president of marketing for Pharmacia Consumer Healthcare, doesn’t consider brands like Pantene, ThermaSilk and TRESemme as being direct competitors. He said Progaine differs from such lines because it was designed “exclusively for women with fine or thin hair.” Other products, McCormick contended, are geared toward women with normal hair.

Indeed the graphic design on containers is a deliberate attempt to capitalize on the existing brand awareness of Rogaine. Small print on the back of Progaine bottles say the “products…do not contain the regrowth ingredient in Rogaine,” and larger graphics in the front read: “From the scientists at Rogaine.”

During research for Progaine, Pharmacia found that “consumers believe ‘this product will work because of what they [Pharmacia] have done in other areas of hair care,”‘ said McCormick, noting that consumers were referring to Rogaine.

Television commercials for Progaine will air in early June and print advertisements will appear in June issues of health and beauty magazines. Ads will mention, a Web site designed to increase awareness among women about fine, thin and thinning hair. Progaine signage also will be posted in dermatologists’ offices. Additionally, single-use Progaine samples will be distributed in stores.

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