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Some of the biggest winners of last week’s Cosmetics Executive Women’s Awards are now contemplating how to turn an industry accolade into a practical advantage at point of sale.

This story first appeared in the May 28, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

One executive who is quite familiar with the possibilities is Michael Kuremsky, vice president of the Olay division of Procter & Gamble Beauty & Grooming, whose brand has been taking home CEW Awards since 2001 and this year netted three. Kuremsky noted on Thursday that, in the past, the awards have helped the brand build its credentialization clout with consumers. P&G has spread the word over its Web sites, through in-store programs and sticker campaigns. In this uncertain era when consumers are beset with so much choice, the fact that a brand has been singled out by an influential industry group can provide a shopper with “an extra vote of confidence for the value equation.”

Heidi Manheimer, chief executive officer of Shiseido Cosmetics America, described the awards as “our Oscars of the cosmetics industry.”

She observed, “Incorporating the CEW Beauty Award Seal on our packaging and in our counter merchandising has been an invaluable resource in communicating the third-party endorsement of our products. As we have learned, our clients respond well to award seals as it helps to streamline the stand-out items for them in a market that introduces a multitude of new launches each season.”

David Greenberg, president of the Maybelline/Garnier Division of L’Oréal USA, pointed out that the awards provide a big “confidence builder” for manufacturers trying to elicit support from retailers for new product introductions. A manufacturer can supply only six months of backing for a new introduction and something like a CEW award can provide a shot for the second half. “It gives us as yet another piece of support in our ongoing dialogue with our retail partners,” he said.

The awards, conferred last Friday at the Waldorf-Astoria hotel in New York, provided more than the usual surprises, not all of them wanted.

One surprise was the growing presence of indie brands. Indie upstart Living Proof won the Indie Beauty Award — and two additional awards to boot. All in all, the Indie Beauty Award category garnered 38 company entrants, compared with 20 last year.

Rob Robillard, ceo of Living Proof, agreed: “The consumer loves anything with a third-party endorsement.” He added that consumers rely on different kinds of experts, when forced to make difficult choices. “And they view the industry as an expert.”

In particular, Robillard is looking forward to the QVC-CEW Awards TV show on July 27, during which the winning products will be sold. Last year, Living Proof had a high rate of sale, he added.

While Living Proof was the surprise upstart of the afternoon, it was L’Oréal and the Beauty & Grooming division of Procter & Gamble Co. who proved to be the big winners, with six trophies apiece. Shiseido wasn’t far behind, with the company taking home five awards. Johnson & Johnson, the Estée Lauder Cos. Inc. and LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton each garnered two, with Coty, Unilever, Klorane, American Crew and ColorMetrics each receiving one. About 513 products were entered by more than 285 beauty brands; 155 finalists were chosen in 31 categories.

Last year’s CEW Beauty Awards garnered more than 200 million press impressions — with 7.4 million broadcast, 209 million online and 1.2 million in print — and Carlotta Jacobson, president of CEW, has aspirations of beating that this year.

In recent years, CEW has been positioning the awards as sales tools at retail. The organization has developed three retail partners — new addition Nordstrom, as well as QVC and CVS.

Jacobson will appear on NBC’s “Today” show to promote the winners, and will appear on the July 27 QVC show. Nordstrom will promote the awards in 114 of its stores and on nordstrom.com. CVS will tout the program on its Web site’s homepage.

Host Mario Cantone, emceeing for the fifth year, kept the room lively with singing and sometimes off-color jokes — although he really had fun at the expense of a well-meaning award winner, Joan Lasker of ColorMetrics. She had heard Cantone lamenting earlier about his love life and, apparently flustered by winning, she suggested that Cantone try speed-dating with the 500 beautiful women in the audience. Cantone looked flabbergasted for a moment before surprised chatter and laughter broke out in the audience, quipping, “I guess I can convincingly play a heterosexual!” before adding, “What was the point of coming out of the closet? And I think this is one of my gayest days!”

Lasker realized that she had made a gaffe and, as usual, was gracious enough to laugh at herself. In an e-mail this week, Lasker, who has lived in Santa Fe, N.M., since the Eighties, wrote: “Friends who were there asked me ‘Have you been living in a cave?’ and my answer is ‘No, on a mountain.’”

There was other buzz as well. Singer Estelle, who presented several awards, coyly hinted that a fragrance deal is imminent; celebrities Kim Kardashian, Whitney Port, Selita Ebanks, Angel Reed, Anoop Desai, Malan Breton, Mark Indelicato and Constantine Maroulis also were in the presenter lineup, sparking rumors that they, too, are looking for beauty contracts (although Kardashian already has a scent deal).

 

Read on to see the complete list of winners>>

 

 

The complete list of winners:

Indie Beauty Award: Living Proof

Body Treatment, Mass: Vaseline Sheer Infusion with Stratys-3

Body Treatment, Prestige: Dr. Andrew Weil for Origins Night Health Bedtime Spray

Bath/Shower Product, Mass: Olay Body Wash Plus Tone Enriching Ribbons

Bath/Shower Product, Prestige: Fresh Sugar Acai Body Scrub

Acne Treatment: La Roche-Posay Effaclar A1 Intensive Acne Spot Treatment

Antiaging, Mass: Olay Professional Pro-X Deep Wrinkle Treatment

Antiaging, Prestige: Lancôme Génifique Youth Activating Concentrate

Cleanser & Scrub, Mass: Visine Total Eye Soothing Wipes

Cleanser & Scrub, Prestige:
Shiseido Future Solution LX Extra Rich Cleansing Foam

Eye Treatment, Mass: Olay Regenerist Antiaging Eye Roller

Eye Treatment, Prestige: Shiseido Benefiance NutriPerfect Eye Serum

Moisturizer, Mass: Garnier Nutritioniste Skin Renew Awakening Face Massager

Moisturizer, Prestige: Shiseido Future Solution Total Regenerating Cream

Hair Care Product, Mass: L’Oréal Paris EverPure Sulfate-Free Color Care Moisture Shampoo

Hair Care Product, Prestige: Living Proof No Frizz Shampoo

Hair Coloring Product, Prestige: ColorMetrics TouchBack by ColorMark

Hairstyling Product, Mass: Klorane No-Rinse Care with Papyrus Milk

Hairstyling Product, Prestige: Living Proof Full Thickening Cream

Eye Product, Mass: Cover Girl Smoky ShadowBlast

Eye Product, Prestige: Lancôme Oscillation Powerbooster Vibrating Amplifying Primer

Face Product, Mass: Cover Girl Simply Ageless Sculpting Blush

Face Product, Prestige: Clinique Redness Solutions Instant Relief Mineral Powder

Lip Product, Mass: Maybelline New York Color Sensational Lipcolor

Lip Product, Prestige: Guerlain Rouge G de Guerlain

Men’s Grooming: American Crew Trichology Hair Recovery Patch

Men’s Scent: John Varvatos Artisan (fragrance supplier: Givaudan)

Women’s Scent, Mass: P&G Prestige Avril Lavigne Black Star (fragrance supplier: Givaudan)

Women’s Scent, Prestige: Coty Prestige Lola Marc Jacobs (fragrance supplier: Givaudan)

Sun Product, Mass: Neutrogena Sensitive Skin Sunblock Lotion SPF 60 + with PureScreen

Sun Product, Prestige: Bare Escentuals BareMinerals SPF 30 Natural Sunscreen