NEW YORK — Pop star, “Dancing With the Stars” winner and “X-Factor” judge Nicole Scherzinger has been named the first spokeswoman for Kiss Product Inc. Scherzinger will represent Impress Press-On Manicure, the latest technology hitting the sharply growing nail care category.

This story first appeared in the November 18, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Scherzinger will appear in the full marketing campaign, which includes television advertising, print, digital media and in-store displays for the launch, which is under Kiss’ Broadway logo. Impress is a collection of press-on, peel-off nails that provide the look and longevity of a gel manicure.

Kiss executives think Impress will have the “x” factor with shoppers. Calling it the “biggest launch ever for Kiss,” senior vice president of marketing Grace Tallon said the technology has been in the works for six years.

Do-it-yourself nail care has been on fire in mass market doors with innovation after innovation, including bold color launches from OPI and Essie to at-home gel and Minx-style applications. The nail category in food, drug and mass merchants has been averaging dollar sales gains exceeding 11 percent over last year, according to industry data.

Kiss, best known for artificial nails, fuses gel technology and press-on, peel-off nails in the line, which is packaged in a creative bottle to hammer home the point it is an alternative to nail color. “We position it as clothes for your nail,” said Tallon. “It is a revolutionary way to apply polish. There’s no drying time. You peel on and peel off. It doesn’t chip and it gives the look of a gel manicure — but you don’t need an appointment.”

Tallon explained that the press-on nails cover imperfections like ridges — a distinction that separates it from polish strips, which can’t hide nail problems.

Retailers who have seen the line also said they like the fact that since there is no glue, the nails are easy to remove and don’t require acetone. “We are having some feedback from shoppers on the difficulty in removing other products,” said a buyer for a large chain.

Impress is available in 18 colors and 18 patterns. Each package has 24 nail covers in 12 sizes to accommodate the full range of nail bed sizes. Suggested pricing is $5.99 for the colors, $7.99 for patterns. The products will debut in chains such as CVS, Walgreens and Wal-Mart in December.

Aimed at women 18 to 24 years old, Impress will be merchandised by most retailers with color instead of with artificial nails — a move that nets Kiss new real estate in stores and exposes shoppers to the idea of press-on nails. “We don’t really expect Impress to take away from our nails since this will be a different customer. It could even increase the purchasing frequency because you can get so many easy-to-change looks,” said Tallon, of the patterns, which include zebra stripes, dots and other stripe motifs. Tallon believes the reach will also extend to women in their 20s and 30s. “This really is the next step in excitement for nail,” concluded Tallon.

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