SKINLIGHTS: REVLON’S FIRST BRIGHT SPOT?

Byline: Laura Klepacki

NEW YORK — With high hopes of reinvigorating its business, Revlon unveiled Skinlights Face Illuminators this week, the first of several products to be launched this year.
The rollout was kicked off Monday by the brand’s first new advertising campaign in recent memory not to include a big-name spokesmodel. While Revlon plans to continue to use celebrity faces, marketing executives have said campaigns in the future will place more emphasis on products. As reported, Revlon and Cindy Crawford have parted ways after more than 10 years, and the company is expected to name a successor in the near future. (See related story this page.)
Richard Kirshenbaum, co-chairman of Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners, the agency that created the campaign, said, “The Skinlights product story is the heart of this campaign. We wanted to create advertising and promotions that captured the very essence of the Skinlights product — the natural beauty enhanced by light itself.”
The spots feature a woman in a yoga-like position with dreamy New Age-type music playing in the background, shown gently applying Skinlights to her face and resulting in a halo-like glow. A background voice intones, “Capture a whole new way to brighten your skin. Revlon Skinlights. Five new ways to brighten your skin, not cover it up.”
Upon seeing both the 15-and 30-second spots, a viewer from Pennsylvania remarked, “that looks intriguing.” Print ads will break in March publications.
The entry of Skinlights, which Revlon bills as a new product category at mass, couldn’t come a moment too soon for the brand.
Revlon, which had already slipped to third in terms of market share earlier this year, continued to see its sales slide during the second half of 2000. According to Information Resources Inc., the brand had a 16.3 percent market share for the six months ended Dec. 17. But for the 13 weeks ended Dec. 17, it had fallen to 15.7 percent, and for the four-week period ended Dec. 17, it shrank to 14 percent.
In a check of New Jersey drug and discount stores, Skinlights, for the most part, is being merchandised on shelving units and counter tops in cardboard prepacks.
Target in particular is heavily supporting the launch, devoting an entire endcap with a distinctive display that also houses Revlon’s new skin care collection Vitamin C Absolutes. But Kmart and Wal-Mart are also giving Skinlights high visibility in the promotional areas of their beauty departments. And Harmon Cosmetics devoted significant shelf space to Skinlights on an endcap in its Totowa store as well.
Along with Skinlights, which includes a lotion, powder and stick in five shades, Revlon has two promotional color collections — Colorlights and Bronzelights. Nick Colosimo, cosmetics buyer for Phar-Mor, for one believed tying in complementary nail and lip items was a good idea on Revlon’s part.
On a casual inspection of the stores’ displays, a quad lip lacquer in both Bronzelights and Colorlights seemed to be moving briskly. And among Skinlights, the lotion in the natural light shade appeared to be a favorite item.
At two Walgreens, the items were not prominently displayed, but the store cosmeticians were clearly briefed on Skinlights. When queried in one store, the clerk explained that the product could be used alone or on top of foundation, and even suggested a shopper refer to an article in a current beauty magazine that told more about it.
As expected, prices were lowest at the discounters. The lowest price was found at Wal-Mart, which is charging $9.97 for a Skinlights item. Harmon offers it for $10.46, Kmart had it on sale for $11.99 [$2 off regular price] and Target’s regular price is $11.99. Cosmetics Plus had it for $11.16, while Walgreens and CVS both maintained Revlon’s suggested retail of $13.95.
“We are very excited about it. We are counting on it to do great things,” said Kathy Steirly, vice president of cosmetics at Eckerd.
Industry sources have said Revlon is expected to spend as much as $20 million on the Skinlights launch, expecting retail sales of $40 million.
At the same time, Revlon is beginning the rollout of Vitamin C Absolute, its first skin care line in many years. Along with Target, it has already made its way into Harmon and Walgreens.
This spring, Revlon will roll out a new cream blush and cream eye shadow, a wet dry foundation and a reformulated Top Speed nail polish, renamed Super Top Speed. Capping the lineup in April will be its latest lipcolor — Absolutely Fabulous — which Revlon executives refer to as its lipstick “for the millennium.”

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