Cosmetics sales are soaring and Unilever executives couldn’t be more pleased.
It isn’t that the company is buying a cosmetics line, rather the boom in color equates to added consumption of its Pond’s and Simple Skincare cleansers. According to IRI data for the 52-week period ended May 15, 2016, all color categories are producing healthy gains — lip, for example, is up more than 7 percent.
“It’s a good time to be in the facial cleansing business when you look at the growth in color cosmetics,” said Suzanne Palentchar, brand-building director for skin care at Unilever North America, noting that what goes on must come off. Both Simple and Pond’s have new introductions slated to roll out nationally over the next two months.
Pond’s Cold Cream Cleanser, once considered the domain of a mature generation, is being discovered by Millennials. Kylie Jenner mentioned and Snapchatted her fondness for Pond’s Cold Cream as a makeup cleanser and younger consumers are telling each other about its effectiveness.
“There is a whole new generation of women that haven’t heard of cold cream before and don’t know what it is,” explained Palentchar. “Yet they are makeup savvy whether it be contouring or strobing. With that much layered makeup, you need a remover that’s going to work and give back to your skin.”
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In order to appeal to younger shoppers — while maintaining its loyal user base — Pond’s is infusing its cold cream technology into its towelettes. “We have a significant towelette business and were the first to introduce [makeup remover] wipes in 1999,” explained Palentchar. “If we are going to make the brand relevant to a new generation, we had to up our game and offer a more convenient wipe to be used on the go.” The towelettes will add to Pond’s already healthy wipe business. The brand experienced 30 percent year to date growth on its 30ct wipe business over last year at the same period, the company reported. According to IRI statistics for the 52-week period ended May 15, 2016, in multiunit chains, Pond’s sales in facial cleansers expanded more than 4 percent to $33 million – exceeding the growth pace of several competitive brands.
The launch fits Unilever’s “Core Plus More” strategy, which includes going back to its roots and maximizing the heritage of its portfolio, but tweaking the brands to make them resonate with new consumers.
The MoistureClean Towelettes will debut in August. All four of Pond’s original towelettes are getting an update highlighting the Cold Cream Technology. Each addresses a specific skin-care need. Pond’s Original Fresh is designed to revitalize skin thanks to an anti-oxidant complex and Vitamin E; Pond’s Evening Soothe, enriched with White Tea Extract, promotes younger-looking skin; Pond’s Exfoliating Renewal is formulated to polish away dull and dry skin while removing dirt; and Pond’s Luminous Clean is enriched with kaolin clay to draw out trapped makeup and impurities to brighten dull skin.
Unilever is also introducing what it calls a “kinder, more effective approach,” to cleansing under Simple. With Millennials experimenting with new looks frequently, the company wants ways to remove makeup without irritating skin. To that end, a new Dual Effect Eye Makeup Remover is strong enough to tackle waterproof makeup, but formulated with a cleansing oil so no hard rubbing is required. There’s also a new Simple Skincare Hydrating Cleansing Oil made with 100 percent pure grapeseed oil. This follow on the heels of the successful launch of Micellar Water last year, which is growing at a 64 percent rate.
The third new item is an enhancement of its top-selling cleansing wipes. “We heard women say they didn’t feel wipes completely cleaned makeup and that by the time they got to the end of the pack, the wipes were dry,” said Palentchar. The new wipes are composed of an improved fabric and feature Aqua-Lock technology to keep every wipe “juicy,” she added. The Simple Wipes are priced at $5.99, the Simple Oil Cleanser at $9.99 and the Simple Eye Makeup Remover at $6.99.
As important as the technology advances are the marketing tactics employed behind both brands. In-store activity will include heavy sampling at Walgreens via its thousands of beauty advisors. Target will build end caps with Unilever cleansers teed up with popular beauty brands. And print and social media efforts will back a campaign called Make Up for Makeup. The campaign is aimed at Millennials who are heavy users of makeup and often experiment with looks. “We want to be there for her after indulging in her favorite makeup looks because we know proper cleansing is a must to remove [makeup] buildup and rejuvenate skin,” said Palentchar.
On social channels, there will be educational content pairing current makeup looks with the right Simple cleanser. For example, a cat eye can be removed effectively with the Dual-Effect Eye Makeup Remover to take off the heavy eyeliner.