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P&G Beauty on Meeting Generational Skin Care Needs

SeeMe targets an influential demographic that is feeling ignored by beauty brands.

One of the most powerful consumer demographics is also the most neglected in regard to media spend and targeted marketing of products designed to address age-specific needs. But P&G Beauty is on a mission to change that by rewriting the playbook on product development aimed at women older than 50.

During Beauty Inc @20, executives from P&G Beauty discussed the issues facing women over 50 and how the company is addressing these, particularly in skin care. The session, titled “See Me, By Me, For Me: Beauty Founders Over 50,” featured Alexis Schrimpf, vice president of global skin and personal care design and founder of SeeMe Beauty and P&G Beauty, and Kelly Vanasse, chief communications officer and senior vice president of global beauty, grooming and health at P&G Beauty. Emily Dougherty, special correspondent at Beauty Inc, served as moderator.

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“It’s great to be talking about this particular consumer because I’m part of that segment,” Vanasse said. “This segment is very specific and very large and it’s comprised of people with what we call ‘estrogen-deprived skin.’ These are women who have either gone through menopause or they’re going through menopause, or they’re showing signs of perimenopause. This segment also includes women who have undergone cancer therapy or cancer treatment.”

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Ingredients in SeeMe include artichoke leaf extract, avocado oil, dill extract and turmeric to target the impact these events have on skin.

Vanasse said this segment is comprised of more than 75 million women, and has immense spending power. She described it as a big segment “and we hold the purse strings, and we control about 70 percent of disposable income.” Vanasse said the segment accounts for half of all consumer products purchased, “yet we are targeted by only 5 percent of media.”

As a result, women in this cohort often feel neglected and overlooked with beauty products and skin care. “An AARP research study recently showed that 40 percent of Gen X — and that’s me — and 53 percent of Baby Boomers feel ignored by people in the beauty industry.” Vanasse said there’s a “tremendous opportunity” to target and serve this segment.

For her part, Schrimpf, who is also in this demographic, said that too often conventional marketing for antiaging products, which often use a 20-year-old or an 80-year-old, “really didn’t speak to us.” She said prior to founding the company, “we were literally invisible in the industry.”

That insight led to the actual name of the brand, SeeMe. “It would be designed for her, by her,” Schrimpf said. “And this is very intentional, and that we see her, and we recognize what she’s going through. In fact, we are her; so we’re able to speak to her in a way that others can’t. It is a very genuine and very authentic way of talking about it.”

What also sets the brand apart is marketing that is fun, nostalgic and energetic. This includes 1980s pop music and references, and humor, too. “Even the black and white and the pops of color tonality that we use with the brand all harken back to the ’80s because we want to make sure she knows that we share her story. We want to make sure she recognizes herself in it,” Schrimpf said.