NEW YORK — Call it Chanel’s version of Botox in a jar.
With its Ultra Correction Serum, set to launch globally in September, Chanel is hoping to break ground in its skin care business —?and hit new sales records for a Chanel skin care item.
In fact, while Chanel executives will only say they believe the serum will quickly become the brand’s best-selling skin care stockkeeping unit, industry sources put a slightly finer point on it, saying they expect the serum to do upward of $5 million at retail in the fourth quarter of 2004 alone, and as much as $8 million in its first 12 months on counter — particularly given the health of the prestige skin care business in general.
The serum joins the four-sku Ultra Correction family of products, and shares the line’s proprietary Adhesioderm 3D — an ingredient said to stimulate collagen and reduce the appearance of wrinkles. However, the addition is said to provide a benefit the others don’t share: an immediate lifting and firming appearance. That effect is provided by a polyvinyl polymer silicone co-polymer and a biopolymer of sweet almond proteins, teamed with soft focus powder and inferential pigments, said Annette Falso, vice president of new product marketing and training, Chanel fragrance and beauté.
As well, the serum contains Kombucha extract, a cocktail of fermented black tea, mushrooms and an antiglycation ingredient, which is said to protect elastin and collagen in facial skin, and Chanel’s proprietary Life Cycle Regenerator, which Falso said is intended to help improve skin’s elasticity and stimulate cell renewal.
“This is the most effective skin care product Chanel has ever launched, as far as clinicals [clinical results] go,” said Falso. “We believe it is going to be a blockbuster addition to the line.” The product is the latest addition to the prestige category’s growing roster of “facelift in a jar” items, designed to push the efficacy envelope with high tech ingredients.
The addition is designed to be used under a moisturizer. “Of course, we hope customers will use it in tandem with the other items in the line,” said Falso, adding that Ultra Correction’s other sku’s include Anti-Wrinkle Restructuring Lotion, $70 for 1.7 oz.; Anti-Wrinkle Restructuring Cream, $70 for 1.7 oz.; Anti-Wrinkle Restructuring Eye Cream, 0.5 oz. for $65, and Anti-Wrinkle Restructuring Night Cream, 1.7 oz. for $80.
But while the serum’s price tag is definitely less than a Botox treatment, it is priced slightly higher than its Ultra Correction siblings: a 1-oz. bottle of the serum retails for $95, while a 1.7-oz. size retails for $140.
And unlike the other products in the line — all packaged in signature Chanel black and white — the serum is in a gunmetal gray airless pump container with white printing, topped with a black cap. “We think that the color gives the product a high tech look,” noted Elizabeth Mankin, vice president of beauté marketing, who added that on the counter display, the serum will be on a raised platform. “It makes the product stand out even more, and encourages consumers to give it a second look,” she said.
While Falso was reluctant to assign an age target to the product —?“It’s for a woman who is beginning to notice slackening facial skin,” she said — she conceded that the prime consumers will probably be in their mid-30s and above.
In the U.S., the product will be available in Chanel’s skin care doors, currently about 800 specialty and department stores. While neither executive would comment on advertising and promotional spending — except to note that Chanel will spend about a third of its second-half advertising budget promoting it — industry sources said they expect Chanel to spend at least $2 million this fall on the product’s advertising and promotion, with print advertising breaking in September fashion, beauty and lifestyle magazines and upward of 1 million samples expected to be distributed by yearend. Print advertising will include single pages and spreads, and the awareness campaign will also include a preview direct mail effort, unusual for Chanel.
— Julie Naughton