MARZENA TO RIDE VANIQA PUBLICITY

Byline: Andrea M. Grossman

NEW YORK — Sometimes publicity is just as important in rearing a successful product as the product itself. Once aware of a newly available technology, consumer interest can be piqued not just towards the advertised product, but for an entire category.
With that in mind, Marzena BodyCare products, a depilatory company based in Los Angeles, is expecting a surge in sales this year based on the advertising dollars and publicity efforts of Vaniqa, a new hair growth inhibitor by Bristol-Myers Squibb and Gillette.
Vaniqa is the first and only topical cream approved by the Food and Drug Administration to slow hair growth, and is now available to consumers by prescription. Vaniqa is applied twice daily and is designed to retard the growth of unwanted facial hair. It costs approximately $50 per tube. According to the Vaniqa web site, vaniqa.com, studies claim that “nearly 60 percent of those treated with Vaniqa showed clinical improvements.” While Marzena is not saying its products have the same efficacy rate or is comparable to Vaniqa, Alister Taylor, vice president of marketing for Marzena, is thrilled that the general public is being presented with three-to-six page Vaniqa advertisements in beauty magazines that explain what a hair growth inhibitor does.
His theory? Vaniqa could draw consumers’ attention to other hair removal products which contain a hair growth inhibitor, Marzena being the only over-the-counter alternative.
In 1999 Marzena introduced Body Hair Inhibitor Serum, a product that cost $15 and offered consumers the first over-the-counter hair growth inhibitor. The serum is designed to be applied after regular hair removing practices, such as shaving or waxing, and according to the company helps users achieve “nearly permanent hair removal” after several months.
Taylor explained how the serum slows the growth of hair.
“The serum works like a tap, it slows down the protein that is required for hair growth,” Taylor said.
In the wake of Vaniqa’s launch, Marzena is launching Hair Remover Lotion with New Inhibitor, Marzena’s first depilatory that includes the hair inhibitor in its formula. Product begins rolling out this month and will retail for $4.85 per 6-oz container.
According to Taylor, Vaniqa’s publicity could lead to increased sales of Marzena products in 2001.
“We are expecting a huge surge in sales because now there is a product on the market with huge publicity that [has an inhibitor]. It is three times the price [of Marzena] and it needs a prescription,” Taylor said. “We are making all of our accounts aware of the whole Vaniqa thing.”
Taylor wouldn’t comment on annual sales of Marzena — which is a privately-owned company — but industry sources estimate 2000 sales reached $2 million.
As the hair removal category enters the high season, which begins in February and runs through summer, Marzena is planning special counter displays for its line of products, as well as increased distribution. Marzena is now in 10,000 doors and plans to be in 14,000 doors by mid-year. It is also vamping up its 70-page web site which includes Marzena product information, as well as the history of hair removal.

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