MARKETERS APPEAL TO TEEN LIFESTYLE
Byline: Laura Klepacki
NEW YORK — Beauty marketers eager to talk to teens are finding that engaging in conversation with them may require learning a different language.
Mass retailers and brand marketers are recognizing that reaching teen consumers is not as simple as placing an item — at a good price — in a weekly circular.
But with the realization that teens are multibillion-dollar spenders, promotional programs are beginning to spring up from all directions, testing new ways of introducing products and hopefully driving teens into drugstores.One of the latest efforts is the introduction of a new teen beauty magazine. This one, however, comes with a retail stamp.
For 24 years, mass market retailers have been carrying a 99-cent beauty magazine simply named Beauty Handbook, published by Compendium Systems Corporation of Port Chester, N.Y. The magazine, now in 110 chain drug, mass merchandisers and supermarkets, has single copy sales of 1.4 million per issue. Beauty Handbook, published four times a year, is customized for each retailer, bearing the store’s respective logo on the cover. The enterprise has proven a solid and steady business, according to president and publisher John McAuliffe.
Then in April, Compendium came out with a teen version — Teen Beauty Handbook. In 3 1/2 weeks, 1.2 million copies sold through. The latest version, which hit stores this month, featuring Grammy-winner Christina Aguilera on the cover, is in store now and McAuliffe is anticipating sales of 1.4 million. There will be another issue before yearend with Britney Spears as covergirl. In 2001, like Beauty Handbook, Teen Beauty Handbook will be published four times.
Beyond putting the chain logo on the cover, some retailers have taken it a step further and retitled the publication for their stores and also modified the content. CVS is offering Teen Beauty Handbook as Grl Lab to coincide with its new teen beauty department concept, while Walgreens has renamed its version Teen Extreme. A Walgreens spokeswoman confirmed that sales of the magazine were strong. “I just feel like a super fool that we didn’t introduce a teen book 15 years ago,” said McAuliffe, while discussing the success of his company’s latest initiative.
Getting a hand into the burgeoning teen market is seemingly on the mind of everyone in the beauty business these days. And retailers and manufacturers are spending more time trying to figure out the best way to market to a demographic group that demands a different kind of approach.
While broadcasting a message to a group of 40-year-olds about a new skin cream may be enough, talking to teens requires getting the endorsement of what the industry has begun referring to as “teen thought leaders.”
Anne Zehren, publisher of Teen People, said, her magazine organizes a group of 9,000 teens dubbed “TrendSpotters” who submit to surveys and offer up opinions on a range of subjects. They are a self-selected group who see themselves as leaders in thought, fashion, music and beauty. Essentially, they are the “cool” teens who others look to.
“They are the secret behind our success,” said Zehren. “They are the influencers who their friends go to for advice. They take the trends and bring them out and make them successful.”
Zehren said drugstores and mass merchandisers do have the product lines. But, “they have to merchandise it and market it and advertise it. We need to reinvent the way they market to this age group because they don’t communicate to them right now,” said Zehren. “Teens don’t read newspapers and thus the drugstore circular that sits in newspapers.” Tying in with music and lifestyle activities is one way to go, she said.
“They spend three hours a day on their computers. Their favorite things to do are go to concerts, listen to music and talk on their phones,” said Zehren. Magazines, she added, are their number one source of information, “even above their friends.”
She said Teen People has begun acting almost as a consultant to its beauty advertisers and their retail clients to create custom events. William McMenemy, senior vice president of marketing at Del Laboratories, said that his company has also begun coordinating more promotions with teen magazines.
“Some of the magazines we are working with include Seventeen, YM and Teen Beauty Handbook. And we are absolutely doing more than we have done in the past with them,” said McMenemy. “We are also creating programs with drug chains and discounters, such as contests and sweepstakes and couponing. There is also the Internet.”
“What we are trying to do is to get them from the malls into mass outlets. That is the major challenge for everybody,” said McMenemy. “They are going to the malls, and they are buying cosmetics in these specialty stores.”
Zehren noted that teens still rate drugstores very low on their list of favorite places to shop, with malls ranking number one. And teen spending continues to grow. According to a Teen People TrendSpotters poll teens are now spending $135 a week, up from $92 only last year.
This fall Jane Cosmetics has also branched out with its marketing programs, according to Brenda Lilly, Jane’s director of marketing and retail programs. It has participated in tie-in programs this fall with CVS, with “Driven to Care” an event that ties into charitable causes. And at Eckerd, in a promotion for Good Skin, Jane is offering a free picture frame. And the event is also designed to drive business to Eckerd photo department. Additionally, for the first time, Jane sampled its Good Skin products in 1,500 high schools across the country.
“One of the brand’s priorities is to reach teens where they live,” said Lilly. “You have to integrate into their lives,.”
Meanwhile, “Cover Girl has consistently been voted the coolest cosmetic brand among teenage girls. We reach teenage girls where they spend their time — in print, through the mail, and more increasingly online,” said Anne Martin, Manager, Global Cosmetics Marketing for Procter & Gamble Cosmetics. Covergirl.com gets 1.5 million visitors a year, and includes an online beauty club boasting 150,000 members. The brand also has a relationship with teen Web site Alloy.com.
“For example, to promote trial and usage of our new Halloween collection featuring Cover Girl DipStick Hair Crayons and Crackle Lacquer in a fun and easy way, we’ve partnered with Alloy to develop an interactive game that also includes a tie-in with up and coming musician Tarsha Vega,” said Martin. “Our previous game, The Alloy Triple Lip Game had five million plays — the highest rate ever for Alloy.
When Coty Beauty launched a new fragrance for teens earlier this year — Individuality — it employed scented tattoos to encourage trial. And Caboodles will soon unveil its new advertising campaign, “Dumpsville” that taps into teen girls’ frequent boyfriend angst.
The bottom line is, said Zehren, “You can’t dictate to teens. They have to tell you want they want.”