With its Time Zone Line and Wrinkle Reducing Moisturizer, due this winter, Estée Lauder is introducing a proprietary Tri-Hyaluronic Acid Complex it is touting as an industry first.

This story first appeared in the October 17, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

In fact, Lauder is banking so heavily on this new complex that the company is reportedly already planning variations of the technology for other brands.

“This is a product which creates an environment for your skin to look and behave younger,” said Dr. Daniel Maes, senior vice president of global research and development for Estée Lauder Cos. Inc. “An optimally hydrated environment is created through the Tri-Hyaluronic Acid Complex, while our proprietary Sirtuin-EX-1 Technology works to optimize the behavior of the skin — resulting in skin that looks and behaves younger.”

The key? The synergy of Lauder’s triple cocktail of hyaluronic acids, blended with the company’s proprietary Sirtuin-EX-1 Technology, whose primary ingredient is a hydrolyzed antiaging rice extract which enhances sirtuin activity and thus the ability of cells to protect themselves, said Maes.

“This complex differs from traditional hyaluronic acid because it not only replenishes moisture to the skin, it also rebuilds and sustains skin’s own natural hyaluronic acid,” explained Maes. High molecular weight hyaluronic acid is intended to stay on the skin’s surface, plumping and reducing the appearance of fine lines. Hyaluronic Acid Fragments — Lauder’s existing “False Alarm Technology” hyaluronic acid — are said to “trick” the skin to react as though its natural reserves of hyaluronic acid were threatened, thereby creating increased natural production of hyaluronic acid and filling deeper lines, continued Maes. The final hyaluronic acid compound, Anti-Hyaluronidase technology, is designed to help skin maintain an optimal moisture balance and maximize the effects of the other two hyaluronic acid components, said Maes.

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Lauder reportedly plans to use similar sirtuin-activating technology in at least two additional skin care launches — from Clinique and Origins — in the near future. “We are likening [the technology] to when we discovered exfoliation of skin by fruit acids,” said Elana Drell-Szyfer, senior vice president of global marketing for Estée Lauder, “We didn’t all use the same ones, but we used ones with similar end benefits.”

Three variations of Time Zone will be offered — a cream version for dry skin, and a cream and a lotion for normal/combination skin. Each will retail for $58 for 1.7 oz.

Time Zone will be released in December in Lauder’s full North American distribution, currently about 2,100 department and specialty store doors. National advertising, featuring Hilary Rhoda, will break in January fashion, beauty and lifestyle magazines. “We’re really playing off the idea that you can take time off your skin,” said Drell-Szyfer, noting that the text-heavy ad presents the brand’s product claim. The information comes from Lauder’s Age Measurement Study (although it is not specifically identified in the ad), conducted over five years in New York and Belgium. The research included study of 77 “aging markers” on women ages 20 to 70, measured by visual and non-visual clinical assessments, bioinstrumentation and biological testing. According to Maes, the study allowed Lauder to not only identify patterns of aging, but also develop new targeted technologies to address the key antiaging concerns of women. Added Drell-Szyfer: “Our promise is that we can take 10 years off the skin in four weeks — and prove it. We believe that will resonate with consumers.”

Lauder also plans a heavy sampling program, which will begin later this month as a teaser campaign, and an extensive online promotional effort. Upward of 500,000 samples will be distributed, said Drell-Szyfer. The Internet teaser campaign is slated to begin in early December, with a full online effort planned for early January.

An in-store event, dubbed Time Reversing Tips & Tricks: Fast Fixes for a Younger Looking You, will introduce Time Zone and offer makeup tips to maximize results.

While none of the executives would discuss sales projections or advertising spending, industry sources estimated that Time Zone would do $75 million to $80 million globally in its first year on counter, with about $25 million of that figure expected to be done in the U.S. Sources estimated that Lauder will spend about $4 million on advertising and promotion in that time frame in the U.S.

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