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Revlon Reaches Out to Young and Old

NEW YORK -- Come fall, Revlon will aim for a hit at both ends of the age spectrum.

In early to mid-October, the company will relaunch its 20-year-old Charlie fragrance, hoping to draw a younger consumer into its fragrance fold. Meanwhile the...

NEW YORK — Come fall, Revlon will aim for a hit at both ends of the age spectrum.

In early to mid-October, the company will relaunch its 20-year-old Charlie fragrance, hoping to draw a younger consumer into its fragrance fold. Meanwhile the company will extend its Age Defying Foundation product, for women over 35, into a three-item line. The average Revlon consumer is 37, according to Cynthia Passmore, the company’s director of marketing.

“So we had to come up with a line like this in order to meet the needs of our core consumer,” she said.

The new entries will be three shades of Age Defying Concealer and three shades of Age Defying Pressed-Loose Powder that will hit store shelves in October.

“Research has shown us that the usage of nearly every cosmetics product declines when a woman gets older, except for lipstick,” said Passmore. “This is because often the products settle into fine lines and wrinkles, accentuating them.”

The Age Defying products, however, were created to make the skin look smoother because they will not sink into fine lines.

Charlie, on the other hand, will go after women from 16 to 30.

“Charlie was launched in 1973 as a playful and spirited scent for younger women,” said Kathy Dwyer, executive vice president of marketing for Revlon. “While its always been a fairly sizable brand for us, over time the user group has edged up a bit. We seem to be reaching more women over 25.”

Despite sales declines over the last several years, sources noted that Charlie remains one of the top five best-selling scents in the women’s mass fragrance market.

During the brand’s peak in the Seventies, industry sources estimated that Charlie had a wholesale volume of around $85 million. By last year, it had fallen to about $45 million.

“Our goal is to reinvent the brand through injecting vitality and growth back into the business,” Dwyer said.

Revlon plans to do that by marketing the concept of a Charlie wardrobe. The company is planning to promote classic Charlie, a green, floral fragrance, alongside Charlie Red, a hotter, floriental scent with fruity, sparkling top notes.

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“Charlie Red was launched in the spring of 1993 as a way of broadening the Charlie franchise,” Dwyer said. “We noticed that it did bring in a younger user.”

Dwyer noted that by the end of last year, the Charlie brand, including Charlie Red, had moved from the number five fragrance spot in the U.K. to number two.

The company is planning to support the campaign with TV advertising that will break in late October and run through the end of the year.

The tag line will be: “Is there room in this town for two Charlies?” The campaign will feature Revlon spokesmodel Claudia Schiffer, who will represent Charlie Red, and Brooke Shields, who will represent the original version.

Classic Charlie, which is packaged in a blue box, will now also be referred to as Charlie Blue.

“The goal of the campaign is to capture the free-spirited playfulness of Charlie,” Dwyer said. “This has always been Charlie’s positioning.”

The two fragrances and excerpts from the campaign will be displayed on a freestanding merchandising unit in about 18,000 of Charlie’s 23,000 doors, Dwyer said.

While Revlon executives declined to discuss sales and advertising figures, industry sources estimated that the company is spending $25 million to advertise and support the fragrances during the launch year.

The company is also planning to extensively sample both Charlies. In early October, two million carded vials of Charlie Red and one million samples of classic Charlie will be distributed in stores.

There will also be 2.5 million cards scented with both fragrances. They will be handed out in stores and mailed to consumers.

Sources estimated that the new strategy could increase sales by as much as 25 percent. That would result in a wholesale volume of over $56 million.

Both fragrances will be available in three cologne sprays — a 1/2-oz. for $11.50, a 1.3-oz. for $15 and a 2.1-oz. for $25.

There will also be 1/4-oz. trial sizes for $4.95.

The Charlie relaunch is Revlon’s second major fragrance effort this year. In August, the company will launch the Fire & Ice women’s fragrance. As reported, a men’s version will follow in November.

To meet the needs of an older consumer, all of the Age Defying products contain color pigments that are wrapped in moisturizing emollients to act as a barrier between the pigments and the skin, Passmore said. The company claims that since the products don’t settle into fine lines, the skin’s surface appears smoother.

Age Defying also contains moisturizing ingredients and sunscreens, she added. Industry sources estimated that the three-item Age Defying line will do a wholesale volume of $10 million to $12 million in the first 12 months.

The company is reportedly backing the brand with $9 million in advertising.

While Passmore would not comment on sales or advertising figures, she noted that Revlon was planning a second-year ad budget for Age Defying almost as large as the first year’s.

“We found that products like these are so brand loyal that it takes people a while to switch over,” she said. “We think we will get about 40 percent of initial trial during the line’s second year.”

Age Defying’s advertising support includes a print campaign that broke in the May 15 issue of People, then rolled out to the July issues of Vogue, New Woman and Ladies Home Journal, Passmore said, noting that the company is planning to add other magazines, including Allure, in the second half of the launch year.

The company will distribute five million samples of the foundation by inserting packettes into magazine ads, which also will contain a coupon. An additional five million inserts will have just the coupon, Passmore said.

There are also 1/2-oz. foundation trial sizes for $2.50. Although Revlon does not normally provide testers for its powder products, the Age Defying powder will be sampled in the stores.

To reach an older customer and lure shoppers from department stores, Revlon has made Age Defying look a bit more upscale than its other facial makeup brands, with a price tag to match, Passmore said.

The powder is in a sleek black compact that contains a natural hair brush. The compact will be in a box, instead of on a blister card. Passmore noted that this is the first time in seven years that Revlon has merchandised an uncarded powder compact.

The suggested retail price per compact will be $9.50, which is 75 cents higher than Revlon’s other powders cost.

The concealers will also be boxed instead of carded, a first in Revlon history. The suggested retail price is $7, slightly higher than for the company’s other concealing products.

The Age Defying line will be distributed in Revlon’s 25,000 doors.