Select products from the Dove Pro-Age collection.

As part of the next phase of its Real Beauty campaign, Dove is hoping to change attitudes in the antiaging category with the launch of Pro-Age, a collection of hair and skin care products designed for pre- and postmenopausal women.

As part of the next phase of its Real Beauty campaign, Dove is hoping to change attitudes in the antiaging category with the launch of Pro-Age, a collection of hair and skin care products designed for pre- and postmenopausal women. This is the first time Dove has introduced a collection of products simultaneously across all categories both in the U.S. and worldwide.

“We’re widening the definition of real beauty so it has no age limits and trying to debunk the stereotype that only young is beautiful,” said Kathy O’Brien, who was appointed Dove’s marketing director in the U.S. in October. “We’ve spoken to a younger audience about self-esteem, and this is the first line we created that addresses menopausal women but in a very positive way. We’re encouraging them to embrace their age and inspiring women in this age group to take better care of themselves, while showing them the potential that lies within their skin and hair.”

Company executives are expecting the Pro-Age launch to be the biggest in the brand’s history, surpassing Cool Moisture’s 2005 debut, which grew the brand by 10 percent. According to O’Brien, Unilever has doubled its business over the past five years and is now a $1 billion brand in U.S. retail sales.

“We have aggressive plans for the next five years and expect to double our business again. We’re slightly ahead of last year’s growth rate,” said O’Brien.

According to Information Resources Inc., Dove’s portfolio of brands increased 10.3 percent to about $590.2 million in sales in food, drug and mass stores — excluding Wal-Mart — for the 52-week period ended Dec. 31. A Dove spokesman pointed out the sales do not include Dove’s full distribution, such as price clubs, as well as Wal-Mart.

Next month the personal care brand will introduce 15 products in the Pro-Age lineup, including face, hand and body lotions, body wash and bar, deodorant and hair care products. Rather than rolling out the new products over several months, Dove opted for a simultaneous worldwide launch to send a stronger message to both American and European consumers. Prices range from $3 for two beauty bars to $14 for night cream, day moisturizer and eye treatment with SPF.

This story first appeared in the January 12, 2007 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

“The new products are designed to help skin retain moisture while optimizing cellular turnover, giving skin more overall vitality,” said O’Brien.

To make the skin appear softer and more vibrant, the company said the line uses key ingredients, such as glycerin, which helps skin appear more supple; alpha hydroxyl acids, which optimize the skin’s surface cell turnover, and emollients, enriched with olive oil and dimethicone, which protect the skin’s moisture barrier. Products also contain Dove’s moisturizing cream, said to nourish the skin.

The company saw an opportunity with Baby Boomers because the generation is still the biggest demographic, yet is still underserved, O’Brien said.

“Dove’s global study showed that 91 percent of women felt the media and advertising needed to do a better job of representing realistic images of women over the age of 50,” said O’Brien. “This group doesn’t feel its needs are being met from both a functional and emotional point of view. Pro-Age allows us to get into this space, talk to them directly and answer their needs.”

Although company executives were unable to comment on details regarding the advertising campaign, O’Brien noted that a 360-degree marketing platform including television, print, Internet and radio will kick off next month. Late last month, the company began distributing samples of Pro-Age’s body wash on its bar soap.

“It’s a bold launch for us, from the activation plan to the overall communication strategy,” said O’Brien, who added that Pro-Age’s red packaging with large type is designed to stand out on shelves. The company hopes to educate consumers by featuring a “woman-friendly ingredient list” and descriptions of the line’s benefits on the labels of each package.

According to Wendy Liebmann, president and founder of WSL Strategic Retail, Revlon tried to tap into the Baby Boomer generation with Vital Radiance cosmetics last year, but not putting the Revlon name on the packaging thwarted the effort.

“Dove is targeting a similar audience with skin care. They’re building on their credibility that’s come from their Real Beauty campaign,” said Liebmann. “Dove’s built a reputation speaking to women in a very honest and open way. [Tapping into the Baby Boomer market] is especially bold after the challenges Revlon’s faced, but I think it comes from a stronger place. Revlon had a more cautious platform, addressing the same women but in ways that didn’t take advantage of the brand’s authority.”

Also next month, Dove will launch three Cream Oil Body Washes designed to moisturize the skin, providing it with the benefits of natural oil and rich cream. Retailing at $3.99 for a 10-oz. bottle and $5.99 for a 19.4-oz. bottle, the body wash will be available for three different levels of moisture — Delicate, Creamy and Ultra Rich — each containing its own fragrance.

“Dove set the standard in moisturizing, and we’re taking it to a whole new level with this breakthrough technology, combining oil and cream to form a rich, creamy consistency,” said O’Brien. “Women know oil is good for the skin, but many don’t like the feel of it. This gives you the benefit of oil but in an indulgent way.”

Cream Oil Body Washes were introduced to consumers last month through the Dove Cream Oil Body Wash ad contest, a monthlong online competition inviting women to create their own 30-second commercials to launch the new collection. The ad that best captures the new product’s essence and the brand’s philosophy will air in a commercial break during the 79th annual Academy Awards telecast.

“We’re leveraging consumer-generated content. Since Dove is connected to women, we figured, why not let Dove women help us out in determining what the next ad should be,” said O’Brien, who added that the number of U.S. contest applicants have exceeded the company’s expectations.

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