UNILEVER EXTENDS POND'S TO BODYCARE

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Unilever is taking its global Pond's facial skincare brand into hand and body care, with the introduction of a line backed by an estimated $20 million to $25 million in marketing support in the U.S. alone.

The collection consists of an Ultra Silk Body Lotion, Silk Gloves Hand Cream, Peppermint Foot Lotion and aromatherapy bath capsules.

BEYOND FACIAL CARE

Pond's positioning is premised on transferring its facial-care technology to body-care for more youthful skin all over, said retail executives who expect the line to arrive by January.

The line will be supported by print and TV advertising as well as an upscale promotional plan that includes sampling and gift certificates.

Pond's confirmed the line was coming but would give no details.

AD CONCEPT PRESENTED

Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide, New York, is Pond's global agency of record, handling the brand in 72 countries. At this point, no creative is finalized for the new products but a concept presented by O&M is said to have been approved.

Several executives close to Unilever and its Chesebrough-Pond's unit said recently that it has been looking beyond O&M and Unilever's other core agencies-J. Walter Thompson Co., Ammirati Puris Lintas and McCann-Erickson Worldwide-for creative input.

One executive said Pond's management was seeking a fresh perspective from a "creative boutique" on the entire brand, noting: "They're flirting with agencies that don't fit in" with the roster shops.

Another executive said Chesebrough-Pond's VP-Marketing Natalie Danysh met this past summer with creative shops to discuss the possibility of new marketing efforts in conjunction with the Pond's Institute.

ARNELL EYED?

Agencies were told at the time that the ad budget on the assignment could go up to $20 million, the executive said.

Pond's measured media spending was $20 million last year, says Competitive Media Reporting.

Arnell Group, New York, was among those shops and several executives said that the agency has been a contender for the new body line until recently. Arnell did not return phone calls; O&M executives declined comment.

Pond's has been having a tough time in facial care, with its sales having fallen 3.6% to $68.8 million in the $480 million moisturizer segment and off 0.5% to $34.6 million in the $372 million facial cleanser segment for the 52 weeks ended Aug. 24, according to Information Resources Inc.

The facial-care line has come under pressure as competition increased from existing players such as Johnson & Johnson's Neutrogena and L'Oreal's Plenitude, and new brands that have entered the market, such as Andrew Jergens Co.'s Biore.

Pond's plans to counter some of the latter's success with a new facial cleansing

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