JERGENS LINKS BRANDS IN NEW SKINCARE LINE; $56 MIL WILL SUPPORT; PRODUCT INTROS ARE PART OF MOVE TO TAP HERITAGE IN MOISTURIZERS

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Andrew Jergens Co. is expected to spend more than $56 million on a new unified Jergens Skincare brand next year.

The umbrella brand will include new bar soaps, an alpha hydroxy cream called Jergens Skincare Ultra Healing Cream and other products that had been independent.

The effort will be announced this week by Jergens President William Genter. He hopes to increase consumer awareness of Jergens products.

"Consumers associate the Jergens brand with its moisturizing heritage," he said. "But over the years, some of our products were positioned independently of one another and were not necessarily leveraging our heritage. This can dilute brand equity over time and confuse consumers about what the brand really stands for."

The company would not comment on a rumored $20 million introduction of a facial moisturizer in the second half; the product was earlier reported to be assigned to Deutsch, New York.

MOISTURIZER ADS

Suissa Miller, Santa Monica, Calif., handles the other new products and launches in January a new print and TV campaign for Jergens Skincare moisturizers and cleansers themed "Jergens Skincare. Because life is touching."

Media That Works, Cincinnati, handles planning and buying; promotional activity supports.

The Jergens Skincare line includes Jergens Advanced Therapy Lotion, Jergens Body Shampoo and Jergens Shower-Active Moisturizer-all previously marketed as individual brands-plus the new Moisturizing Body Bars and Ultra Healing Cream.

Jergens' increased attention to bar soaps mirrors Unilever's decision to reinvest next year in that category; most marketers have cut support for bar soaps as sales of shower gels have taken off.

ALPHA-HYDROXY BANDWAGON

Jergens Skincare Ultra Healing Cream contains alpha hydroxy acid, which has taken the facial-care category by storm. Hand and body lotion marketers are just now jumping on the bandwagon, with Unilever's Chesebrough-Pond's introducing one under its Vaseline brand called Dual Action Alpha Hydroxy.

Jergens needs a boost. While it remains No. 2 in hand and body lotions-Chesebrough's Vaseline is No. 1-its sales of shower gels, liquid soaps and bar soaps have been slipping, according to Information Resources Inc.

Jergens shower gel sales fell 23.4% to $41.5 million for the 52 weeks ended Oct. 27, a period in which the category grew 47.9% to $352 million. Its liquid soaps dropped 27.9% to $16.1 million, while bar soap sales declined 22.2% to $28.6 million.

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