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Neutrogena, which made its reputation on those little clear bars of glycerin soap, gave plenty of women reason to try its facial moisturizers.

"We know consumers know that they stayed out in the sun too long," says E. Michael McNamara, exec VP-global marketing at Neutrogena Corp. "We want to give them ample hope to make them want to try" Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Cream.

In the 52 weeks ended Feb. 22, Neutrogena total sales came to $52.3 million, up 48% from the year before, according to Information Resources Inc. The $500 million facial moisturizer category grew by 5.3%.

Part of the sales gain was the result of product introductions under the Healthy Skin brand.

The anti-wrinkle cream, the only mass-market brand containing Retinol, came out last year as did an eye-cream product. But, as Mr. McNamara says, "Our facial care strength went beyond anti-wrinkle. We saw big increases in facial cleansing and acne care."

He made a fundamental marketing shift. The company moved away from retail promotions and threw its marketing dollars into national advertising, via agency Carlson & Partners, New York.

"That was integral in making this work," says Mr. McNamara. "The strength of Neutrogena is in the trust and credibility we've earned with consumers."

Also key, he says, is the development costs shouldered by new parent company Johnson & Johnson.

"We [now] have a pipeline of technology that Neutrogena has never had before," he says.

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