The agreement includes the existing business in the U.S., Canada and parts of Latin America, but P&G will continue to operate its existing Noxzema skin care, deodorant and body wash and soap business in parts of Western Europe.
"Noxzema is an iconic U.S. skin-care brand," Alberto-Culver CEO V. James Marino said in a statement, adding that it "has great equity among consumers and, together with our existing St. Ives skin-care brand, will provide us with significant opportunities for growth."
Nearly $60 million in sales
Noxzema had $39.9 million in sales across numerous categories for the 52 weeks ended June 15, according to Information Resources Inc., with sales likely around $60 million in all channels. The disposable razor line, for which P&G licensed the name to Universal Razor Corp. nearly a decade ago, has been gaining share. But Noxzema has been losing share in all other categories.
P&G pulled the media plug on Noxzema more than a year ago, said people familiar with the brand. In all, it got $2 million in media support last year and a total of $69.6 million the prior five years, according to TNS Media Intelligence.
Publicis Groupe's Leo Burnett, Chicago, remains agency of record, as it has been since P&G acquired the brand. Publicis sibling Starcom MediaVest Group handles what remains of media planning and buying. WPP Group's Bridge Worldwide, Cincinnati, handles digital.
Noxzema had never been a major focus for P&G since it was acquired in 1989, with Cover Girl cosmetics having been seen as the major prize in the company's acquisition of Noxell. P&G also put more focus on the Oil of Olay brand it acquired four years earlier from Richardson-Vicks.
Smaller stable of brands
At Alberto-Culver, Noxzema joins a stable of smaller niche brands, also including Tresemme and Nexxus, which have been the biggest share gainers in U.S. hair care the past two years.
Interpublic Group of Cos.' Campbell-Mithun, Minneapolis, and Omnicom Group's Element 79, Chicago, handle advertising for Alberto-Culver brands.