P&G, Unilever, L'Oreal: Summer shootout in skin-care category

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Skin is in for mass beauty-care marketers, as Procter & Gamble Co.'s plots a $75 million-plus push for its Olay, Noxzema and Ivory lines to counter a summer shootout of wrinkle-fighting creams and exfoliating washes from Unilever and L'Oreal.

The move comes despite slow growth in overall personal care (see story, above) and signals a shift in emphasis for marketers. In the first half, there were an precedented 150-plus-item barrage of hair-care products including launches of Unilever's Dove and L'Oreal's Garnier Fructis.

Now it's skin-care sections-already crowded by July launches of Unilever's Dove face-care range and L'Oreal Wrinkle De-Crease-that are getting a fresh batch of 20 new or improved items from P&G by the end of next month.

Leading the pack are P&G's new mid-range-priced Olay Complete Plus, a line of moisturizers and night creams for older women, and Olay Daily Facials Express, a jazzed-up version that promises a "10-second facial" compared to the original's 60 seconds.

Filling out the Olay initiatives will be a new cleanser line-up that includes a "deep-cleansing" version for younger-women, Sensitive Moisture Therapy lotions and cream for older women, a Complete All-Day line with sunscreen and an improved Total Effects cleansing cloth with twice the moisturizer content.

The launches will get TV and print support starting late next month from Publicis Groupe's Saatchi & Saatchi, New York, for Olay and Leo Burnett, Chicago, for Noxzema.

'loaded yet light'

P&G's TV and print campaign behind Olay Daily Facials Express features a guarantee that the company will buy one of the consumers' old cleansers if they're dissatisfied (not unlike the Old Spice guarantee). Olay Complete All Day will also get TV and print effort highlighting its "loaded yet light" benefit, and Complete Plus will be incorporated into the line's overall TV and print campaign.

The youth-positioned Noxzema, which has been under attack by L'Oreal Pure Zone, launched last year, is launching a new Daily Exfoliating Cleanser. The Noxzema product will get print, but not TV, breaking this fall.

A print campaign from Benchmark Group, Cincinnati, also is breaking in August through October issues of Time Inc.'s People and women's service magazines for Ivory Moisturizing Body Wash, the first new product in seven years for P&G's oldest surviving brand.

The new three-item range, which succeeds products that were part of the ill-fated 1996 Ivory Moisture Care initiative, furthers Ivory's makeover as a mid-range value brand, priced between such premium brands as Unilever's Dove and such value brands as Unilever's Suave.

It's among the latest in a series of P&G efforts to relaunch or reinvigorate such value brands as Daily Defense and Daily Renewal haircare, Gain laundry detergent and Luvs diapers.

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