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The eyes are what drive the $2.6 billion mass market cosmetics business and that's where Maybelline is refocusing advertising for Revitalizing.

The Revitalizing line of age scoffing cosmetics got off to a slower-than-planned start last year. The brand's disappointing performance also contributed to lower-than-expected sales for Maybelline in fourth quarter 1994, when consolidated net sales dropped 8% to $80.1 million. For the year, Maybelline posted $351.8 million in sales, up just 1.5% from 1993.

Maybelline is readdressing the Revitalizing conundrum in 1995 with more than $17 million in ad spending, according to industry estimates, about the same as last year. Of that, $8 million will tout Revitalizing mascara between February and March.

The centerpiece of the campaign, running on spot, prime-time network and cable TV, is Revitalizing mascara. The new product is positioned as being capable of plumping up thinning and aging lashes.

In the blink of an eye, the 30-second spot from the Gotham Group, New York, juxtaposes a sampling of stylized eyelash looks through the ages before resting on more contemporary lashes and Revitalizing mascara.

Maybelline's strategy of deploying nearly half its Revitalizing media budget to mascara is reminiscent of L'Oreal's shift in the 1980s, when to gun cosmetics sales it began pushing mascara of all kinds, from Lash Out to Splash Out. That end run worked. L'Oreal is now the third largest marketer of mascara with a 15.5% and a growing share in the segment, up by nearly 1 share point from a year ago.

By contrast, Procter & Gamble Co.'s Cover Girl market share slipped from 21.4% to 21.2% in 1994, according to Nielsen Marketing Research while classic Maybelline was flat at 32.1% and Revitalizing eked out a 1.3% share.

Maybelline will also try to fluff up its classic line with the March introduction of Lash by Lash mascara.

Said Gotham Group President Sheri Colonel, "Maybelline has an authenticity, a heritage in mascara. And mascara drives product."

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