TV and print ads from Gotham, New York, promote Maybelline's new Hydra Time lip color as "extended wear with hydrating care."
Gotham President Sheri Baron said the new line provides consumers with the rare pairing of both moisture and long-lasting color.
In the past "there has been a trade-off of moisture for wear, and wear for moisture," she said. "We no longer have to make that trade-off."
The advertising features longtime Maybelline models Christy Turlington and Tomiko Frasier and retains Maybelline's tag: "Maybe she's born with it. Maybe it's Maybelline."
The effort later will roll out to overseas markets, including Asia, France and Germany.
Ms. Baron said most of the past entrants into the 5-year-old budgeproof arena provide long wear but also a drying feeling.
"The struggle has been to deliver on the two most important benefits-long-wearing color and moisturization. That's basically what women want in lipsticks," Ms. Baron said.
But Maybelline isn't the first to tackle the moisture-cum-long-lasting challenge. Revlon, which was the first company to introduce long-wearing, transfer-resistant lipsticks in 1994, launched its MoistureStay product last year.
Maybelline, a division of L'Oreal, is the No. 3 mass-market brand in lip color, with a 10.7% dollar share of the $735 million category. The brand trails sister L'Oreal and Revlon, which is No. 1.
The category itself is healthy, up 14.2% from 1997 sales. Maybelline lipstick sales outpaced the industry slightly, with a 14.8% increase, according to Information Resources Inc.
IN TECHNOLOGY'S DEBT
Ms. Baron credits technological advances for the mass-market cosmetic industry's growth.
"Mass marketers are delivering better and better products," she said. "Historically, the cosmetics industry has been built on the premise of hope in a bottle. The truth is today technology delivers significant results."
She added that consumers also realize mass-market cosmetic companies produce comparable products to those sold by department stores.
"In today's day and age, there is no need to go to the department store and spend exorbitant amounts of money," she said.
Although Maybelline feels it has an edge with the new product, other cosmetic companies also hope to whet consumers' whistles.
Along with Revlon, skincare marketers including Johnson & Johnson's Neutrogena and Procter & Gamble Co.'s Oil of Olay brand also are expected to launch long-wearing, lip-softening lines this year.
Ms. Baron said it's always a race to the finish.
"All the major brands in the category are always working to stay in the