Byline: Alev Aktar

NEW YORK — Pond’s has been a leading player in the facial treatment market for years, and now the brand hopes its equity will carry over to the body care category.
In January, Pond’s will launch its first body treatment line, the four-product Ultra Silk collection. The line consists of two moisturizers, Silk Glove Hand Cream and Ultra Silk Body Lotion, and two unusual products, Peppermint Foot Massage Foot Lotion and Aromatherapy Capsules. The range will be sold in food, drug and mass accounts across America.
According to Mike Indursky, skin care category director for Chesebrough-Pond’s, the line could rack up an annual retail volume of $50 million once it is rolled out, with Ultra Silk body lotion generating most of the business.
Vaseline Intensive Care is currently the market leader with a 16 percent share in the hand and body lotion category, according to the A.C. Nielsen sales-tracking agency.
Pond’s decided to enter the aromatherapy and foot care categories because retail-tracking panels show both are growing rapidly, noted Indursky.
Nielsen figures show foot care vaulted 35 percent last year. “There’s more and more shelf space allotted [in stores] to foot products with a pampering edge,” added Indursky.
The U.S. aromatherapy market was worth an estimated $250 million at ex-factory — below wholesale prices — in 1996, and will grow about 5 percent this year, according to the market research firm Kline Group. Of the 250 million, approximately 45 percent, or $113 million, is generated by the mass market.
Instead of just moisturizing, Ultra Silk products are formulated to provide beauty benefits such as smoother, healthier skin. “The category is focused on heavy-duty therapy,” noted Indursky. “But, according to our research, about 40 percent of consumers are looking for cosmetic benefits from their body products such as younger-looking or more beautiful skin.”
As a result, the body lotion contains alpha and beta-hydroxy acids to exfoliate skin, while the hand cream is formulated with vitamins A and E to leave hands younger-looking. The foot massage lotion is spiked with peppermint and menthol to cool and moisturize the skin. Prices for the three products range from $3.99 for a 4-oz. body lotion to $7.99 for a 13-oz. bottle.
The aromatherapy entry consists of an assortment of four “mood-enhancing” fragrances — relaxing, romantic, energizing and happy — that are packaged in color-coded capsules. For example, the relaxing fragrance is a woody, soft floral accord in a lavender capsule.
A four-chambered glass jar containing 20 capsules will retail for $11.49.
The line will be backed with a print and TV campaign that breaks in the beginning of the year, and with on-pack samples and coupons. According to Indursky, Pond’s will spend $40 million on media next year on its face and body care lines.
While he declined to provide a breakdown, sources speculate that at least half of the investment, or $20 million, will be devoted to the new body range.
The company’s only other body care product is Pond’s Cream & Cocoa Butter, sold in limited distribution.

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