SKINCARE ON A NEW-PRODUCT TEAR;P&G, OTHER BIG PLAYERS PLAN MAJOR AD SUPPORT IN '97

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To keep the $2.2 billion facial skincare market growing, marketers are heading into 1997 with scores of new products.

Procter & Gamble Co., now testing the Oil of Olay Age Defying Series in California, is believed to be preparing a national rollout for early '97 via Wells Rich Greene BDDP, New York, with an estimated $25 million war chest.

Beiersdorf is spending another $25 million to advertise its new Nivea Visage and Basis facial products, with ads from TBWA Chiat/Day. And Johnson & Johnson is introducing, via Carlson & Partners, several new and revamped products, including Neutrogena Healthy Skin.

COSMECEUTICAL MOVE

The new Oil of Olay line marks an acceleration by P&G in the "cosmeceutical" segment of the category, where product hybrids combine cosmetic and therapeutic benefits. Age Defying's three anti-aging products replace another cosmeceutical line P&G pulled nearly two years ago after consumers complained of skin irritation.

A P&G spokesman would only say the brand "remains in test where it is quite successful."

Other cosmeceuticals on tap from Estee Lauder Cos.' Clinique are Exceptionally Soothing Cream and Exceptionally Soothing Lotion for Upset Skin, bowing in February. Though the products will be supported by little more than $1 million in ads, created in-house, the launch marks the first time anNew skincare products

SKINCARE from Page 3

upscale cosmetics marketer has used the over-the-counter drug ingredient hydrocortisone to treat irritated skin.

Meanwhile, Estee Lauder USA, which introduced Fruition Extra this fall, is planning on adding the alpha hydroxy acid-based Resilience Body Elastin Firming Lotion to its Resilience facial care line next month. It's also working on a new facial "nourisher" for its Renutriv line and an overhaul of its suncare line.

NEW RENERGIE PRODUCT

Cosmair's Lancome in January will unveil Renergie Oil-Free Lotion, an anti-wrinkle and firming treatment that joins its Renergie creme and Renergie Yeux, and will be supported by print ads from Publicis/Bloom as well as direct mail and in-store sample packets.

Unilever's Elizabeth Arden also will increase its commitment to skincare with a new firming product under the Ceramide banner as well as the launch of an entirely new, as yet unnamed skincare brand aimed at younger women.

All the activity, however, belies signs the market is facing hurdles.

After nine months on the market, J&J's breakthrough anti-wrinkle cream Renova has hit just $15.2 million in consumer sales. Initially launched with a TV and print campaign that was expected to exceed $30 million, spending for the year to date is estimated at little more than $5 million.

In January, the company is expected to come back with another $5 million campaign devoted to print as J&J tries to be more brand specific. DDB Needham Worldwide is the agency.

OTHER STRUGGLES

While Renova's difficulties might be pinned to the fact that it is a prescription drug, traditional non-prescription products also show signs of struggle.

The $479 million mass-market moisturizer segment, for instance, is flat in dollar sales and down nearly 2% in unit sales, according to Information Resources Inc.

Lenka Contraras, project manager at Kline & Co., said the market "has slowed down because there have been so many new products and a saturation of all the AHA products."

She also cites increased competition from non-retail alternatives, including direct sales organizations such as Avon Products and home shopping channels, which now account for 15% of all category sales.

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