NEW YORK — Nivea Visage is ready for a fancier neighborhood.
Now one of the top eight skin care players in the U.S. mass market, it hopes to move into the top five within the next two years, according to Pat Augustine, brand manager of the Visage line.
If this year’s results are any indication, the facial skin care brand has already started its climb. While company executives declined to disclose sales figures, industry sources estimate that Visage’s wholesale volume will roughly double to about $25 million this year.
Visage is part of Biersdorf Inc. of Norwalk, Conn., the U.S. subsidiary of Beiersdorf GmbH of Hamburg, Germany.
According to the Towne-Oller research company, in the 12 months through May, Oil of Olay topped the list of face care sales in food and drugstores with a volume of about $120 million. Pond’s was next with $73 million while Noxzema had sales of $52 million. Next in line was Plenitude with $49 million, followed by Neutrogena with about $29 million.
The sixth and seventh places were occupied by Almay at $26 million and St. Ives at $24 million.
“Germany has decided that face care is the future of the company and they are committed to investing in it both here and abroad,” Augustine said. “We have had overwhelming success with Visage in Europe and Beiersdorf wants to duplicate that here. We have decided that it is time to play like a major player now.”
According to industry sources, last year Visage worldwide sales increased 21 percent to $180 million. This year sales are expected to increase by 20 percent to $225 million.
Here are some strategies Beiersdorf is implementing to achieve its growth plans for Visage:
Introducing the Inner Beauty Daytime and Nighttime Renewal regimen to the brand’s roughly 50,000 mass merchandisers, drugstores and food outlets now. The two new facial moisturizers each contain alpha-hydroxy acids and are designed to be used in tandem to reduce the signs of aging.
Sources expect the new items to generate $8 million to $10 million wholesale in the first year.
Launching local TV campaigns in major markets for the company’s Anti-Wrinkle Creme. Previously, Visage products were advertised only in print.
Tripling Visage’s advertising budget to $20 million for 1994.
Distributing a total of six million samples of the new Inner Beauty Items and its top-selling Anti-Wrinkle Creme through the company’s first magazine sampling effort. Packettes of the product will be included in ads during the fourth quarter of this year.
Repackaging the line’s 12 existing products to give them a more upscale appearance.
As part of the company’s commitment to growth, Nivea is rolling out two alpha-hydroxy acid moisturizers.
The first is called Nivea Visage Inner Beauty Daytime Renewal Treatment. The gel creme formulation, designed as a day cream, was created to enhance the skin’s natural renewal process. The company maintains that it diminishes fine lines and wrinkles.
The 1-oz. pump carries a suggested retail price of $13.
The second product, called Nighttime Renewal Creme, is a moisturizing emollient that was designed to complement and enhance the daytime product. The 1.7-oz. jar also has a suggested retail price of $13.
Each item contains an alpha-hydroxy acid concentration of 2.2 percent.
“The idea is to encourage smoother care by providing a regimen of continuous care that is both mild and effective,” Augustine said. “We feel spreading the dosage of the alpha-hydroxy acid products over a 24-hour period will minimize the risks of irritation.
“AHAs are the hottest trend in the market,” she added. “You can’t be a major player unless you keep up with the trends. Next year, we hope to start one or two of our own.” The products will be aimed at women over 35 of all skin types, except the most sensitive.
The company is reportedly spending $15 million to $20 million to support Inner Beauty during its launch year. It will break a print campaign in September and run it through next year, Augustine said. A TV campaign will begin in January.
In addition, this fall the company will sample both products through its magazine sampling campaign.
“We will be including samples of both of the products to enforce the regimen aspects of the brand,” Augustine said.
During the rest of this year and the first quarter of 1995, Nivea is offering a rebate of $5 off the purchase of both items or $2 off the purchase price of one.
While Nivea is planning a TV campaign for Inner Beauty, the concept of TV advertising is still relatively new for Visage.
The company first started experimenting with the medium last April and May, when it aired commercials for its Anti-Wrinkle Creme in Boston, Miami, Los Angeles and Chicago.
According to Augustine, sales of the cream tripled in those markets during those months and overall Visage sales doubled.
In October, the campaign will expand to 14 markets, including Dallas, Atlanta, Seattle, Washington, New York and Tampa. The campaign will run for four weeks. In May, Nivea gave Visage a facelift. The repackaged lineup has updated graphics, which Augustine describes as being more feminine, and all of the cartons are now cellophane-wrapped.
In addition, the lotion moisturizers and cleansers have been put into pump bottles instead of containers with screw tops.

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