COSMAIR HOPES NEW $40 MIL NUTRISSE LAUNCH IS FRUITFUL: NEW HAIR COLOR LINE TAKES NATURAL TACT TO HALT FEMALE 'FEAR OF FRYING'

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Cosmair's Maybelline/Garnier division will launch a $40 million advertising campaign this summer to introduce Nutrisse Nutricolor Masque, a new hair color, via Publicis, New York.

The brand is the latest entry from the Laboratoires Garnier unit, which also markets Belle Color hair coloring in the U.S. Nutrisse, a deep conditioning product made with fruit extracts, will reach stores in July, backed by an effort from Publicis that will include advertising, in-store displays and sampling.

CAMPAIGN UNDER WRAPS

Publicis executives would not divulge details of the campaign, but it likely will play up Nutrisse's conditioners and range of colors. At a launch party held in New York May 18, Maybelline/Garnier touted the U.S. debut of the brand with a fashion show featuring models in citrus-color gowns showing off the new hair color shades.

Nutrisse will be positioned as a fashion product for women 18 to 54, not just a tool to cover gray, said Ketan Patel, VP-marketing, Maybelline/Garnier.

The new hair color will play to baby boomers' organic sensibilities with natural ingredients such as fruit acids and grapeseed oil, and to women's "fear of frying" with added conditioners to protect hair, Mr. Patel said.

Hair color is now treated as a fashion statement by men and women, Mr. Patel said, quoting company research that found 86% of women said they color their hair to be noticed and 75% to be more attractive; gray coverage is a much lower priority.

Maybelline/Garnier has high hopes for the brand, marketed in Europe by L'Oreal Group under the Natea brand. Mr. Patel said during the research process, 84% of women who tested the product said they would buy it.

Mr. Patel cited estimates that indicate 50% of U.S. women color their hair. Their number continues to grow as baby boomers age; sales of mass-market hair color have grown from $919 million in 1995 to $1.2 billion in 1998.

Maybelline/Garnier is banking on Nutrisse to lift its market share from a weak No. 4. Belle Color, introduced in 1996, now accounts for only 2.7% of the $1.2 billion hair coloring market, according to A.C. Nielsen Corp. Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.'s Clairol and L'Oreal make up 45.2% and 39%, respectively, with Revlon trailing with 10%.

The new entry will be up against heavy competition. Clairol will spend $30 million to launch a reformulated Ultress hair color via Foote, Cone & Belding, New York. And L'Oreal continues to boost its Feria entry with new shades and a color range for men, as well as a relaunch of its Casting brand, renamed Casting

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