If Clinique has its way, its newest skin care product will have consumers seeing fewer spots.

This story first appeared in the October 23, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector, which the brand will launch in March, is designed to help fade the appearance of dark spots, age spots and skin discolorations — and the brand claims its results rival that of prescription-strength products.

“We have been very successful with our strategy of launching products under the dermatological-concern umbrella,” said Lynne Greene, global president of Clinique, Origins and Ojon, noting the strategy has been in practice at Clinique for about two and a half years (and reportedly has grown the brand’s Even Better line into a $130 million global franchise). “It’s a strategy that resonates with consumers. We have products dealing with acne, redness and other concerns. Now, we’re turning our attention to hyperpigmentation, which is a huge concern for many women, regardless of their age. This product gives us the opportunity to talk to all ages at once and makes us relevant for all ages.”

Agnes Landau, senior vice president of global marketing for Clinique noted that as many as 40 percent of women over the age of 25 in the U.S. have issues with hyperpigmentation. “This isn’t a niche product — this is a problem among all ethnicities,” she said. “For instance, I am Latina and I have a big concern with this issue — as do Caucasian women, African-American women and Asian women. It is a huge market opportunity.”

Unlike many comparable products, this one is suitable for even very sensitive skin, according to Janet Pardo, senior vice president of product development worldwide for Clinique. “Many women with sensitive skin can’t tolerate 4 percent hydroquinone, which is the most-prescribed medication for this condition,” said Pardo. “We made it our goal to provide the same efficacy as 4 percent hydroquinone without the irritation. We made a quantum leap in formulation with this cocktail of ingredients. Our clinical studies show that even after 12 weeks of use, this product — delivered in a lightweight serum — provides the same level of efficacy that 4 percent hydroquinone does.”

The product’s CL-302 complex includes a rare botanical extract called Dianella Ensifolia (otherwise known as border silver), which is used in tandem with existing Clinique hyperpigmentation technology to reduce the appearance of dark spots, she explained. The formula also includes Vitamin C, said to reduce the appearance of dark spots; patent-pending trametes versicolor extract, a concentrated mushroom extract, said to brighten skin by breaking up existing dark spots into microparticles and making them less visible on the skin; curcuma longa turmeric root extract, said to be a powerful antioxidant and anti-irritant; glucosamine and salicylic acid, intended to exfoliate skin and normalize cell turnover, and anti-irritant glycyrrhetinic acid, said to protect against the visible effects of irritation caused by external stimuli or stress.

It will retail for $49.50 for 1 oz., and will be available in Clinique’s full U.S. distribution — about 2,200 department and specialty store doors, said Ricardo Quintero, senior vice president and general manager of Clinique, the Americas.

“Our goal is also to bring innovation to how we market this product,” added Quintero. “In addition to traditional print advertising, we will also have a major digital campaign, which will include outreach to bloggers and a big Web presence. We will be giving the consumer many tools to engage with the product and to tell her story.” Print advertising will break in March fashion, beauty and lifestyle magazines, while the first digital outreach will begin in December, said Quintero. “It won’t be a launch and leave,” he said. “We’re behind this product for the long haul.”

While none of the executives would discuss sales projections or advertising spending, industry sources estimated Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector could rack up first-year retail sales of $50 million globally. ($30 million of that is expected to be done in the U.S.) Sources estimated advertising and promotional spending will top $12 million in North America.

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