Byline: Pete Born

NEW YORK — Lancaster Group is hoping that lightning will strike a second time when the company begins its global rollout of Skin Therapy Oxygen Supply for Eyes.
The product, retailing for $37.50 for a 15-ml. bottle, will be introduced in Germany on March 1, then rolled out to other world markets, including the U.S., in April.
The anti-wrinkle eye cream is a marketing followup to Lancaster’s highly successful Skin Therapy face product, which has generated sales of more than one million units globally, or more than $30 million, since its 1993 introduction, according to industry sources.
The face cream, which is part of the Lancaster cosmetics and treatment brand, was the hottest-selling single-item skin care launch in Germany’s prestige market, according to Nina Korelitz, worldwide marketing vice president for the Lancaster brand.
Skin Therapy was so dynamic, it pushed the Lancaster brand into the top spot of the German prestige volume rankings, followed by Lancome and Clarins. The prior year, Lancaster ranked third, Korelitz said.
Even though the German market accounts for only 30 percent of Lancaster brand sales, it generated 40 percent of skin therapy’s global volume.
The strength of the German business was due, in part, to the massive support put behind the 1993 introduction. The face cream introduction was conducted as if it were a blockbuster fragrance launch.
Sales promotion support included print and TV advertising. The new eye cream will be hyped on radio in Germany and tagged on the TV commercials for the skin cream..
“It was the first time in Germany that a Lancaster mega-skin care product was launched on TV,” Korelitz added.
The face product, which was launched in 2,000 department store doors in Germany, was originally marketed in a single size — 30 ml., priced at $60. Last September, a 50-ml. size was added at a sticker price of $75.
In the U.S., the Lancaster brand has gained a foothold with a total distribution of only 400 doors since the company arrived from Germany in 1991.
The U.S. generates 8 percent of Lancaster brand’s worldwide volume, but it accounts for 10 percent of the Skin Therapy business globally.
With such a scattered distribution, the launch had to be gradual.
“We didn’t have a mega-launch here like in Germany,” Korelitz said. “We saw slow, steady growth.”
Korelitz declined to break out volume figures or make dollar projections, but she noted, “A successful eye product does 25 percent of the volume of a face product, and that is what we are shooting for.”
That rate would translate into a global volume of more than 250,000 units, or $9.5 million, for the eye cream.
Korelitz sees the introduction of the eye cream as a chance to relaunch the face product.
A new tester unit has been designed to feature both products under the expanding Skin Therapy umbrella. A single-page ad for the face product will be matched with a page featuring the new eye product. Packette samples of both products will be disseminated widely.
According to industry sources, Lancaster Group USA is hoping this year to sell 125,000 units of the face and eye products combined in the U.S.
The promotional focus will be on the new eye product as the locomotive of the rollout. It also will emphasize the benefits of the product strategy. By replenishing the skin’s oxygen levels, which are diminished with age, the products are designed to add moisture and reduce wrinkles.
“We are in the beauty business,” Korelitz said. “The thing that we can deliver is to help the consumer feel beautiful. But she has to do it for herself.”