NEW YORK — Andrea Robinson plans to take Prescriptives into the future by reacquainting consumers with its past. The president of the division of the Estée Lauder Cos. has kicked off a campaign stressing the brand’s core strengths — customization and color-printing — which she maintains is even more relevant today than it was when the brand was founded in 1979.
“It’s the remaking of the brand, and we’re going back to who we are. In today’s society, everything’s customized — from music to Starbucks to jeans. Customization is something customers desire,” said Robinson, who became president of Prescriptives and Tom Ford Beauty in March.
“Prescriptives is known as a ‘smart brand’ targeting the working woman,” she added.
Prescriptives offers customization in its Custom Blend lip gloss, lipstick, foundation, pressed and loose powder, and now a concealer. The new Custom Blended Concealer, at $32, is designed to allow customers to select their preferred coverage, finish and specific skin needs such as firming, lifting, moisturizing and line minimizing. It will be launched exclusively in September in Bergdorf Goodman, followed by a full rollout in October.
The concealer’s formula contains light-reflecting particles meant to conceal the appearance of dark circles, imperfections, fine lines and wrinkles. About 25 percent of Prescriptives’ 750 counters — around 200 doors — offer custom blending service. Though Prescriptives is mostly known for its foundations, industry sources indicate that the company expects the custom blend concealer to become 15 percent of the total business.
Prescriptives is also offering, as part of its Colorscope collection, a customizable, refillable compact that can be filled with any combination of 70 eye and cheek shades, ranging from soft and subtle to bold and bright. Magnets keep the shade palettes firmly in place in the compact case.
In Prescriptives’ color-printing process, each customer has her skin undertones identified to help her match her skin color and to determine her appropriate shade range.
“It’s going back to the original idea of color-printing and what makes Prescriptives unique in an online era that’s all about ‘having it your way,'” said John Dempsey, global president of the Estée Lauder brand, MAC Cosmetics, Sean John and Prescriptives. “We’re returning to the core bones of the brand and reestablishing the Prescriptives heritage with a strong voice. Customization is more relevant today — as relevant, if not more relevant — than it ever was.”
Robinson sees the reintroduction of the brand as an opportunity to target new consumer groups — women ages 28 to 35 and ethnic consumers. “We see this as an opportunity for us to get the colors right for the ethnic consumer,” she added.
Elana Drell Szyfer, Prescriptives vice president of global marketing, said color-printing involves much more than finding a personal shade range. “Now we’re trying to educate consumers that it’s not just about the shade, but the effect you want — whether you’re going for a matte or radiant finish with a lifting, firming skin care opportunity.”
Prescriptives plans to redesign its counters with new visuals to demonstrate the custom blend concept, and add new tester units and dispensing systems. The company also plans to create a new certification program to educate advisers on how they can become “master blenders.” Promotional events designed to reintroduce Prescriptives to customers will be held at point-of-sale in October. The color-printing concept will be highlighted in an advertising campaign breaking in September in at least two magazines, People and Oprah’s magazine, O. Shot by Michael Thompson, the ad shows a range of skin tones with the question, “Have you been Colorprinted?”
The company hopes the Custom Blend campaign will increase volume by 5 percent in the 200 doors where the service is now offered.
Although company executives would not break out projections, industry sources estimate that the Custom Blend collection will represent $15 million of the Prescriptives business in a year, while the Custom Blend Concealer is representative of 15 percent of the Custom Blend business, about $2 million. Around $3 million will be spent on advertising.