MAYBELLINE BOOSTS BUDGET 20%, SETS DIRECT PUSH

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Maybelline will boost U.S. ad spending by more than 20% -- to $85 million -- in 1998 as it also rolls out an ambitious direct-marketing program.

The efforts come as Maybelline, the No. 3 brand in the $2.6 billion mass-market cosmetics category, sets a goal of $1 billion in global sales by 2000. Maybelline, now owned by L'Oreal and marketed in the U.S. by its Cosmair subsidiary, does not release sales figures but the brand is tracked in the U.S. at $395 million in sales via food, drug and mass-merchandiser outlets as monitored by Information Resources Inc.

Senior VP-Marketing Cathy Wills said the brand will insert 5 million sample packets with $1-off coupons in magazines next year, in addition to the first-time direct-mail sampling program.

500,000 PACKETS

That effort, consisting of 500,000 packets and coupons, will be tested in two cities before likely being moved national on a "much bigger level in the second half of the year," she said.

While Revlon has sampled in magazines and Procter & Gamble Co.'s Oil of Olay brand has sampled consumers via mail, Maybelline is believed to be the first mass cosmetics brand to look at doing such an extensive program, Ms. Wills said.

Of the $85 million budget for 1998, Maybelline will dedicate $20 million to the February introduction of True Illusion makeup, said to conceal flaws but to look natural. Advertising, from Gotham, New York, will consist of print and 30-second spots themed "The beauty of it is what you don't see."

While model Christy Turlington will continue to be the centerpiece of Maybelline advertising, she will be joined in the True Illusion campaign by Tomiko Frasier.

"It's a new sort of venture for us," said Ms. Wills. "We're beginning to add models representing different skin types."

GLOBAL IMAGE

That diversification in model looks is viewed by industry observers as important as Maybelline looks to build a global image.

The True Illusion launch is also seen as a way for Maybelline to build a reputation for technological leadership in the category through the product's micromesh formula, said to improve application.

Another technological innovation is Eye Express Easy Lining Pen, also to be launched in February with a $3 million budget.

Already sold in Europe by another L'Oreal company, Gemey, the pen has a patented tip for premeasured fluid application.

According to IRI, Maybelline trailed No. 1 Revlon and P&G's Cover Girl, the No.

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