NIVEA READIES BIG PUSH TO BOLSTER U.S. POSITION

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Beiersdorf will begin a $48 million marketing campaign for its Nivea brand in September, just as Revlon introduces a new skincare brand.

Nivea's new effort, including more than $20 million for TV and print advertising, will carry the umbrella theme of "Nivea brings your face to life. Nivea brings your skin to life," said Beiersdorf VP-Marketing Marcia Levis.

TBWA Chiat/Day, New York, is handling the Nivea campaign; Ms. Levis said ads have not yet been produced. There also will be a major sampling program through magazine ads.

3RD-QUARTER LAUNCH

As for Revlon, an executive close to the company said there would be a third-quarter launch but declined to disclose the brand name. It's expected to be announced this week.

The entry could be called MoistureStay, as previously reported, a branding allusion to Revlon's ColorStay cosmetics. Revlon, however, denied there will be any product under that name.

Tarlow Advertising will handle the new product.

INTENSE COMPETITION

Nivea's marketing push, to encompass facial and body moisturizers under the Nivea and Nivea Visage names, will come amid other intense competition, too. Andrew Jergens Co. and Procter & Gamble Co. have new entries (AA, Feb. 24), and L'Oreal's Plenitude and Johnson & Johnson's Neutrogena have been fielding new products and experiencing high double-digit growth.

Sales of Neutrogena rose 44.1%, to $39 million, while Plenitude increased 15% to $80.7 million, during the 52 weeks ended April 27, per Information Resources Inc.

Plenitude, handled by Publicis/Bloom, New York, also now boasts the No. 1 selling eye cream according to ACNielsen Corp. data-Revitalift Eye, which is just 3 months old. This spring, Plenitude debuted Revitalift Night and also added foaming face washes and toners under the Plenitude Shine Control and Hydra Fresh labels.

Though Nivea is the No. 1 skincare brand worldwide, Ms. Levis said, it has yet to achieve as commanding a presence in the U.S. Nivea Visage ranked as the No. 6 facial skincare brand, with a 4.5% share on sales of $21.5 million, up 5.2%, according to IRI.

NIVEA LAGS OLAY, PLENITUDE

While its growth outpaced the $472.7 million category's total dollar growth of 1.5%, Nivea's share remained far below that of P&G's Oil of Olay-24.5%-and Plenitude-17.1%. It was less than half that of Unilever's Pond's, at 14.7%.

Ms. Levis confirmed Beiersdorf is working on a separate Nivea line called Nivea Vital, to be sold via infomercials created by Spellbound Productions, San Francisco.

The earliest that program would be introduced, however, is late 1998, Ms. Levis said.

"We want to focus on our existing brands now. We don't want to divert our attention from those," she said.

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