REVLON, COMBE TO INVEST $60 MIL IN HAIR-COLOR PUSH: PLAN TO 'DISRUPT' $1 BIL MARKET CONTROLLED BY CLAIROL, L'OREAL

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The nearly $1 billion hair-coloring market, long dominated by Clairol and L'Oreal, is the target of Combe Inc. and Revlon, both of which want a bigger piece of the action and will spend about $60 million to get it.

Revlon is putting more than $40 million in marketing behind its introduction of ColorStay hair color this fall; Combe will invest $17 million in media spending alone for its new Just 5.

POINTS OF DIFFERENCE

Each of the new products boasts a point of difference. For ColorStay, it's the promise of longer-lasting color. For Just 5, the lure is 5 minutes of processing time instead of the usual 25.

"We intend to disrupt the balance of power," said C.B. Busta, Revlon USA's exec VP-beauty care. "For years, it's been L'Oreal and Clairol."

Clairol, a unit of Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., and L'Oreal, marketed in the U.S. by its Cosmair arm, hold a combined 80.8% of the $994 million category. That compares to just 7.6% for Combe and 6.9% for Revlon, according to Information Resources Inc.

But the draw for marketers like Revlon is the untapped demographic potential of the business. Despite a graying America, only 30% of the population uses hair color-and category growth has not been all that remarkable, at about 5%.

To spur growth, Mr. Busta believes further innovation is needed. ColorStay, named after its makeup counterpart, ColorStay Cosmetics, promises color that lasts longer-though how much longer Revlon can't specify because it depends on how often a woman washes her hair and how quickly her hair grows.

FIRST CREAM GEL

ColorStay also is the first cream gel on the market, a formulation Mr. Busta said should make it easier to apply and control. That characteristic is especially a plus for first-time users.

Combe executives got the idea for Just 5 after discovering that women were actually buying its Just for Men hair coloring for themselves. When company research asked why, the response was because the product takes so little time to use.

"Women are time-starved," said Senior VP-Marketing Dominic DeMain. "Our pro-duct is unique in that it's just 5 minutes. No one else is providing that technology."

CRAWFORD IN ADS

The $40 million-plus budget Revlon has set for ColorStay covers advertising and promotion from Tarlow Advertising, New York, with Cindy Crawford starring in ads (AA, May 5). Theme line is "ColorStay stays in, stays alive."

TV commercials haven't been shot yet but are scheduled to break Oct. 15.

Ms. Crawford, who's also in print ads, will talk about stubborn gray hair as the commercial cuts to women with gray hair and then dissolves to vibrant color.

"Between ColorStay cosmetics and ColorStay hair color, the name . . . will be on TV and in print 52 weeks a year," said Mr. Busta. "That's formidable."

Revlon will promote the line with newspaper free-standing inserts, refunds, in-store couponing and cross-promotions with the cosmetics.

TV AND PRINT FOR COMBE

For Combe, its budget will be spread over network, cable and syndicated TV as well as print ads, starting in July. Just 5 will be positioned as a product that blends away gray without changing natural hair color. Just 5 also will conduct its first major couponing effort, said Mr. DeMain.

"We'll drop a major FSI in September and will feature point-of-sale educational materials and a high-value cash refund on displays," he said.

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