Byline: Cara Kagan

NEW YORK — Clinique USA is using the spring season to fill in the gaps.
The company plans to launch a series of new products — from an under-eye gel to a foundation to two facial self-tanners — designed to reinforce its something-for-everybody strategy.
“For the last few years we have pretty much been following a consistent strategy of addressing women of all ages, skin tones and skin types,” said Dan Brestle, president of the Estee Lauder Cos. division.
“Turnaround Cream, which was launched almost three years ago, was a springboard that catapulted us above the consumer perception that we were a brand just for young women.
“Since then we have redoubled our efforts to make sure that anyone who comes to the Clinique counter can find a product that meets her needs,” he continued. “From here on in, we will be fine-tuning that positioning by filling in the holes.”
Brestle noted that the new spring items, in addition to other initiatives planned for the fall, are expected to contribute to a 10 percent sales increase this year.
Industry sources estimated that last year Clinique had a wholesale volume exceeding $600 million. A 10 percent increase would result in estimated sales of more than $660 million for 1995.
Clinique’s major launch in May is Daily Eye Saver, an under-eye gel with sunscreen, free radical scavengers, skin soothers and humectants. The 0.5-oz. tube will retail for $25.
The strategy behind Eye Saver is to provide consumers with an alternative to its Daily Eye Benefits under-eye cream, one of Clinique’s best-selling items, which has a heavier consistency and is designed primarily for night use.
Clinique is backing Eye Saver with a “couple of million” dollars in print advertising, according to Brestle. The campaign will run in May and June women’s magazines and again in September and October issues.
Sampling is also on tap. The company will distribute from 500,000 to one million mini-Eye Savers, according to Eunice Valdivia, executive vice president of marketing and finance.
With nine sun-blocking products, sun protection has become a strong business for the company, Brestle said. Sunless tanning, however, is another story. Until last year, Clinique had only one entry.
In May, it will augment its two-item selection of sunless body products with two more products for the face that are based on Clinique’s skin typing procedure for treatment products.
The items are Self-Tanning Face Formula Skin Types I/II, which is targeted to women with fairer and drier skin, and Self-Tanning Face Formula Skin Types III/IV, targeted to women with darker and oilier skin.
A new foundation entry is also part of the company’s plan to cover its bases. Clinique already offers eight different foundations.
But executives said Almost Makeup SPF 15, which will bow in May, offers both the sheerest coverage and environmental protection. In addition to a nonchemical sun block, the product contains oil-free moisturizers and free-radical scavengers.
“We also feel that Almost Makeup will meet the needs of a broad spectrum of ages,” said Shirley Weinstein, vice president of product development. “Since it is so sheer, it is great for younger, active women who need less coverage. It will also work for older women because the formula is so light that it won’t settle into lines or wrinkles.”
The company maintains that each of the four shades, which are priced at $16.50 each, also match a variety of different skin tones.
“Foundation is a very important part of our business since it serves as a bridge between treatment and color,” Valdivia said. “It is a way to draw the women using our color products into treatment and a way for us to get our treatment users into our color line.”
In March, Clinique will add four shades of blush designed to round out the company’s blush business, which is already sizable. Clinique’s top-selling blush shade, for example, sold 600,000 units last year, according to Valdivia.
While the company already stocks 22 shades of its Soft-Pressed Powder Blusher, Clinique felt it needed to cater to consumers who prefer a more natural-looking flush of color. The four new shades all contain a bit of brown to give them a more neutral hue. Each will be priced at $14.50.
According to Brestle, the company will support the launch with a print ad budget comparable to that of Eye Saver. The campaign will run in February and March issues of women’s magazines. Clinique will also distribute about one million samples of the new blush during the launch, Valdivia said, and will run an in-store promotion called “Blush Stop.”