The 16-year P&G veteran also faced stiff competition from her own company, which was launching Olay color cosmetics backed by a $90 million ad campaign. Meanwhile, rival Johnson & Johnson was unwrapping a pricey launch for a color line of cosmetics under the potent Neutrogena banner.
The solution was to find out from consumers what existing products lacked. Ms. Martin learned that "women are pressed for time and demand products that provide multiple benefits like hydration."
"Keeping this in mind, we developed the CG Smoothers collection, a line of products for face, eyes and lips that offers moisturization benefits, smooth application and improvement in the condition of skin."
The line debuted in October 1999, and results have been impressive. In lipsticks, for example, CG Smoothers racked up sales of $16 million for the 52-week period ended July 15, a 166.2% increase over the prior year, according to Information Resources Inc. Although P&G nabbed younger shoppers with CG Smoothers, Ms. Martin says its main customers are women in their 40s.
So many retailers flocked to the Cover Girl line extension that it proved more successful than the much-heralded Olay introduction. P&G pulled the plug on Olay cosmetics last June, just two years after its launch.
Ms. Martin credits the extensive marketing campaign with helping get initial trial. P&G pumped $25 million into the launch, handled by Grey Global Group's Grey Worldwide, New York.