WET ‘N’ WILD GOES GEL CRAZY

Byline: Matthews W. Evans

NEW YORK — Wet ‘n’ Wild has gotten a squeeze.
The budget brand launched an assortment of gel cosmetics tubes called MegaSqueeze. Building on its existing gel-in-a-pot business, Wet ‘n’ Wild plans to merge the new “more convenient” tubes alongside its mainstay lip, nail and eye offerings, said marketing director Valerie Wass.
In these latter categories, the brand is invariably among the bestsellers. A whopping 17.3 million Wet ‘n’ Wild lipsticks sold in 2000, according to Information Resources. This was well ahead of second-bestseller Cover Girl, which sold 12.5 million units for retail sales of $19.4 million, up 28 percent. Its nail polish and treatment business grew 3.9 percent, to $14.6 million.
The quintet of 1-oz. tubes includes two bronzers, Burnt Rose and Golden Bronze; two glitter products, Wild and Crazy; and one opalescent shimmer product, Magic. Magic takes after Estee Lauder’s Prescriptives product of the same name, said Wass. “We often look to prestige to see what’s new and exciting out there,” she said, adding that the brand would like to capitalize on the popularity of opalescent cosmetics.
The new gels bow as part of Wet ‘n’ Wild’s full 34-stockkeeping unit spring promotional collection of lip, nail and eye products.
Aimed at 14- to 28-year-olds, all items retail for $1.99. They will be introduced in March at Wal-Mart, Kmart and Target, said Wass, with drug retailers merchandising them throughout the first half.
The color palette includes pearl, lilac, coral and sea green. The collection includes a creme-to-powder eye shadow formula that applies as a creme and dries with a powder finish, a first for the brand. Wet ‘n’ Wild’s MegaPlump lipstick has been reformulated, designed to apply smoother.
Executives want to maintain the brand’s low-price scope. Exceeding it, admitted Wass, would put the 20-year-old brand on a field with players such as Revlon, Oil of Olay and Cover Girl, which “already have enough competition.”
“We’re good where we are,” she said. “I’d like to think we’re the owners of the budget cosmetics category.”

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