REVVING UP THE BRAND MACHINE

Byline: Pete Born

NEW YORK — When it comes to leveraging brand awareness, no one has to sell Revlon on the idea.
One example of building on a franchise is this month’s launch of Age Defying Performance Skincare, a cousin of Revlon’s number two-selling foundation of the same name.
There also will be three new ColorStay products, all launched under the umbrella of the ColorStay transfer-resistant lipstick franchise. ColorStay ignited the market in 1994, not only achieving record sales but sparking a revival of the entire mass color business, in the view of industry executives.
The lipstick spawned an entire franchise, which will consist of 15 different products all bearing the ColorStay name, once the three new products are launched in February.
According to industry estimates, retail sales of the ColorStay products combined is nearing $200 million for this year in drugstores, mass volume retailers and food-drug combination stores.
Revlon’s fall onslaught was kicked off recently by the introduction of Top Speed Nail Color, a new fast-drying enamel that industry sources estimate could do $20 million at retail its first year.
In addition, there will be more products launched under the Revlon banner through the first quarter, plus introductions in the Almay division.
A full-fledged moisturizer will be added to Almay’s Time-Off Revitalizer, a two-item skin care line that Almay rolled out in May and June.
Almay also has thrown heavy quarterly advertising behind an existing product, One Coat Mascara, that generated huge sales increases this year.
One Coat was advertised on TV for the first time Aug. 18. The spots featured entertainment personality Karen Duffy.
Kathy Dwyer, president of Revlon Cosmetics U.S., describes the overall strategy as an attempt to bring product innovation and marketing advances to bear on the market and attract new users, often consumers who had been shopping in department stores or dealing with direct marketing companies.
Dwyer and other Revlon executives talk of filling a consumer “need gap.”
The current introduction, Top Speed Nail Color, is an example. One of the big goals of women, Dwyer says, is “beauty without a lot of fuss or time spent. “No fuss” is a marketing mantra at Revlon headquarters.
Top Speed is Revlon’s entry into the industry’s nail enamel speed derby. The Revlon product is billed as having a setting time of only 90 seconds.
The formula contains a polymer that not only dries quickly, Dwyer said, but has the unusual quality of holding its shine.
Women either want a nail polish that doesn’t chip, Dwyer said, or dries fast. Getting three to four days wear is good, she said, adding that Top Speed has lasted up to five days in tests. Regular Revlon brand nail enamels avoiding chipping for five to seven days.
While not new, Almay’s One Coat Mascara also fills Revlon’s bill for building core brands and the company is leveraging the franchise into color cosmetics. “One thing we learned from consumers,” Dwyer said, “is that the biggest need is for mascara that can be applied without clumping.”
The Almay formula allows coverage in one pass, meaning fewer coats, less clumping and an absence of what Revlon calls “the tarantula effect.”
Following Almay’s thrust into the mass skin care market in May, the Revlon brand is about to follow suit in a market where Revlon has a meager 1.5 percent share, generated by a collection of old products.
The Almay launch lived up to expectations, Dwyer said, noting that “it’s doing very well.” That is an accomplishment, considering that the Almay skin care product, a beta-hydroxy formula designed to both repair and protect skin, is an ambitious way to get established.
It’s tough to get a new treatment established in the mass skin care market, which last year totaled $853.6 million in sales, according to A.C. Nielsen. Dwyer estimated that it will take three to four years to build a base. “We’re in it for the long term,” she said.
Tanya Mandor, executive vice president of marketing for Revlon, describes Revlon’s competitive position in the color category as a bright spot in a robust market. The total sales have grown by 8.2 percent this year through Aug. 15 and Revlon has zoomed ahead by 9.5 percent in the same period.
Top Speed is initially available in 20 shades, carrying a suggested retail price of $4.30 each. Another 16 shades will be available in February. Distribution numbers about 15,000 doors.
Now comes Revlon’s Age Defying Performance Skincare, which is on counters now. The line consists of two products, each retailing for $15: a 1.75-oz. Face Cream and a 1.7-oz. Oil-Free Face Lotion, both featuring SPF 15.
Revlon plans to attack the skin care market by leveraging brand awareness and appealing to its foundation customers. Mandor estimates that there are one to two million women using Age Defying Makeup now and they are prime targets for the new skin care of the same name.
Mandor’s strategy is to build what she calls “a fan base” and service women’s unmet needs. Moreover, she is hopeful that there will be parallels with Revlon’s history in the face product category.
Mandor remembers a time when Revlon’s position in foundation was tenuous. “Three years ago,” she recalled, “we weren’t a player in face.”
The situation is far different now. Although Cover Girl ranked number one overall in the face category, edging out Revlon in Nielsen rankings from January through Aug. 15, Revlon claims the three top-selling foundations in the market. ColorStay ranks first with a share over 9 percent, Age Defying is second with 7.8 percent and New Complexion, for which there were no Nielsen numbers available, is third.
Revlon has been steadily building its color business to its present number-one position with a succession of shade statements, starting with Vamp & Vixen in 1995, followed by Raise & Rage, Virtual Violet and this season’s Stone Edge, Granite and Slate.
Now Revlon will ship After Dark for holiday this year, Metal Lights between Christmas and New Year’s Day and Blushed for early spring. It is due on counters in January.
Mandor described Blushed as “grown-up pales.” It will be featured in the Revlon Report booklet. Blushed also will be supported by TV advertising featuring Halle Berry.
There also will be three ColorStay additions launching in February. They are ColorStay Light Makeup, consisting of 12 shades priced at $11.95 each; ColorStay Powder Shadow with a two-ended applicator that provides contouring and highlighting shades for the eyes, and ColorStay Liptint.
The first product is designed as a followup to ColorStay Makeup. The new product is formulated to provide a lighter, more sheer, natural look.
The ColorStay Powder Shadow, designed not to fade or rub off, will be available in eight shades at a suggested retail price of $7.95 each.
The Liptint was designed for casualwear, such as on a weekend, when a woman wants what Mandor described as a “kiss of color rather than a full mouth,” like the look one gets with regular ColorStay lipstick. The tints, complete with vitamin E and aloe to soften and protect lips, will be available in 10 shades and carry a suggested retail price of $9.25 each.
Revlon also is expanding its Line & Shine products, an $8.95 two-in-one lip liner and gloss that has separate applicators on each end. The product was launched in May with six shades. Another two will be added for holiday and six more in the spring.
Line & Shine combined with Revlon’s other lip products to allow the company to boast all of the market’s top 20 shades in August.
Meanwhile, Almay is moving to expand its fledgling skin care line with the addition of moisturizer.
The 3.8-oz. Time-Off Lasting Moisture SPF 25, carrying a suggested retail price of $15, is now being launched. It boasts the highest sun protection factor in the mass market and also contains vitamin E to smooth skin and fight free radicals.
Since the spring launch of the first two Time-Off products, Almay has surged in treatment. The market has gained 4.6 percent this year while Almay has netted 7.8 percent, according to industry sources, most of it generated by Time-Off.
Jill Scalamandre, senior vice president of marketing at Almay, described 1998 as the year of color for Almay, which has made great strides this year. According to A.C., Almay’s color business was up 13 percent for the year through August.
The initial vehicle will be the One Coat franchise that was established by the mascara. Almay will launch the One Coat color offshoots in February, including One Coat Nail Color, One Coat Gel Eye Color and One Coat Lip Shine.
The nail color will consist of 20 shades priced $4.50 each. The Gel Eyecolor will be priced $6.50 and come in eight shades and the Lip Shine, a $6.50 lip gloss, will be available in six colors.
“Our consumer is style conscious but she’s not trendy,” Scalamandre said in discussing how Almay’s approach to color differs from Revlon and other brands.
It’s more a question of enhancing one’s natural beauty, she said: “It’s more of a casual lifestyle issue, not a necessity driven by fashion. It’s a more healthy beauty than a fashionable beauty.”

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