Cosmetic change: Targeting tweens

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Cosmetic and personal care companies are targeting kids and tweens this fall with products that include tasty lip balm branded Dairy Queen and Snapple, Bratz cosmetics and toothpaste featuring characters from Blues Clues, Looney Tunes and Dragon Tales.

In an effort to drive much-needed incremental growth in mass channels, many marketers at last week's National Association of Chain Drug Stores' Marketplace in San Diego touted lines for the toddler set and for teeny boppers with plenty of allowance dollars to spare.

Marketers are scrambling to develop new products for retailers such as Wal-Mart, Target and K-Mart, which industry observers note are looking to aggressively focus on tween girls this fall.

According to Eric Weeks, director of sales for cosmetics company Markwins, recent data from Information Resources Inc. found that the teen market for mass cosmetics is losing ground as they head off on their own to department stores and prestige-brand retailers like Sephora once they get their driver's licenses. Meanwhile, the 8-to-12 set is still going with mom to Walgreens or Wal-Mart, providing a real growth opportunity.

Markwins will tap into tweens with the launch of a Bratz line this October based on the popular dolls. Through the license with the hot MGA Entertainment brand for a 28-product line of color cosmetics including lip glosses and nail polishes, Markwins hopes to find success somewhere in between its adult and little girl offerings. The line will be pushed with an ad campaign in Spring 2005

Almar Sales Co., which also licenses the Bratz property for hair accessories, will likewise try to fill the void between young kid and adult offerings with Bratz and a new Elle Girl line of hair accessories that ship in July. Elle Girl, owned by Hachette Filipacchi U.S., will run two full-page ads for the line.

matter of taste

Lotta Luv, a unit of DBS Accessories, has targeted tweens with its food and drink-related lip balms for three years. What began as one Bubble Yum lip gloss in 2001 has blossomed into licenses with nearly 100 brands from Hostess Twinkies to Cinnabon. The most recent offerings include a line of Dairy Queen lip products and a line of 14 Snapple lip balms.

Recently, Lotta Luv "tested the waters" for consumer advertising with its first-ever ad in Time Inc.'s Teen People from agency Alternatives, New York. It plans to follow with additional campaigns beginning in Spring 2005, according to owner Steven Shweky.

The performance-related trend in adult beauty is rubbing off onto teen/tween-targeted products. Gail Herrell, new VP-marketing, Caboodles Cosmetics, said that while much of its 14-to-19-year-old targeted line focuses on "fun and glitter," girls today are more knowledgeable about what products do for their skin. Caboodles plans a "major launch" in February of cosmetics with sun-care protection.

Charles Flora Consumer Products, which acquired the Lavoris mouthwash brand in October 2003, is expanding the line to kids lines featuring Scholastic Corp.'s Clifford the Big Red Dog property and Sesame Workshop's Dragon Tales.

Evergreen

According to Bruce Friedman, president-CEO of Charles Flora, the two "evergreen" licenses will help foster trust among parents. Print ads will tout the September launch. The company is also exploring a line of liquid soap and bath gels pegged to hit TV show "Kidz Bop."

Colgate Palmolive Co. is likewise focusing on growing its kids' segment with toothbrushes and toothpastes featuring Nickelodeon properties "SpongeBob SquarePants" and soon to feature Nick's "The Fairly Odd Parents," as well as licensed Looney Tunes and Blues Clues toothpastes. "Retailers are noticing the incrementality of kids' products, which command a premium price and offer higher margins," said Gus Johnson, a Colgate sales executive.

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