Multimillion-Dollar Effort to Boost Brand Name

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CINCINNATI ( -- Alberto-Culver Co., Chicago, Thursday breaks a new multimillion-dollar TV campaign from Interpublic Group of Cos.' Campbell-Mithun, Minneapolis.

The three 30-second spots put a visual emphasis on the "I" in St. Ives and highlight how products solve individual skin-care problems.

The campaign, which will run on network and cable TV, set an all-time high copy-testing score for both the brand and the company via Ipsos-ASI, Cincinnati, said Jim Gonedes, vice president of North American skin care with Alberto-Culver.

"It really has a very innovative technique around how we're raising the connectivity between the women and the St. Ives brand name," Mr. Gonedes said. "It does something we really haven't been able to do before, which is get the brand name in the commercial, which really makes a big difference, especially when you're not the No. 1 player in the category."

While St. Ives has steadily gained market share in recent years to more than 4% of the $2.4 billion skin creams and lotions category, according to figures from Information Resources Inc., it still ranks well behind such brands as Procter & Gamble Co.'s Olay, Unilever's Vaseline and Pond's, and Johnson & Johnson's Neutrogena brands.

"As we go forward, we're really going to be moving the lotion business significantly," Mr. Gonedes said.

While the new campaign was meant to coincide with cold weather and the onset of "lotion season," warm weather in much of the country could put a temporary damper on sales, he acknowledged, but he added that "hopefully we'll have some really cold weekends coming up."

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