By Published on .

Revlon's ColorStay hair color this month gets a few touch-ups of its own.

The cosmetics marketer will introduce an updated formula to its 2-year-old line, promising consumers longer-lasting conditioner that won't wash off for at least 28 shampoos.

The brand also spawns a highlighting kit called ColorStay Contrasts, available in three shades.

The products will be backed by ads from Tarlow Advertising, New York. Marketing support will include TV spots breaking in August and promotions. Those include a mail-in rebate offer and $2-off couponing via newspaper free standing inserts in August and October.


The new-and-improved ColorStay faces a long, hot summer, however. Market leader Clairol will launch a reformulated Ultress, while Cosmair brings to the U.S. a popular European hair color from Laboratoires Garnier.

Revlon didn't disclose ad strategy or a budget for the ColorStay line, but it spent $17.8 million last year on ColorStay hair color, according to Competitive Media Reporting. In the first quarter of 1999, it spent $5.6 million to introduce Super Lustrous Haircolor, a new brand launched in February.

Revlon is a distant third in a booming $1.2 billion U.S. hair color market, divided between Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.'s Clairol and Cosmair's L'Oreal. According to figures from ACNielsen Corp., Revlon had 10.1% of hair-color sales in grocery and drugstores during the 52 weeks ended May 15. Clairol dominated with 45.1% and L'Oreal had 39.2%.


Revlon hasn't had great success in cracking the hair color market because it won't spend what it needs to in order to compete, said Suzanne Grayson, president of consultancy Grayson Associates.

Its growth in total ad and promotion spending has slowed from 29.6% in 1996 to 6.4% in 1998. Spending is expected to remain flat at $423 million for 1999, according to a recent report by PaineWebber analyst Andrew Shore.

Revlon, faced with sliding sales, said in April it would sell all or part of the company to pay down debt.

ColorStay has the right brand equity to translate into a hair color, said Ms. Grayson, but Revlon hasn't backed it well enough to buy market share against formidable competition.

"You're up against Clairol and L'Oreal . . . Those are the 10-ton gorillas," she said. "They won't let you in, and they won't let you live."


The stakes are high; industry estimates are that half of all U.S. women color their hair, and their numbers continue to increase as baby boomers age. Sales of mass-market hair color grew nearly 30% last year, according to figures from Information Resources Inc.

Cosmair's Maybelline/Garnier division will back the introduction of Nutrisse Nutricolor Masque with a $40 million advertising campaign from Publicis, New York, this summer. The deep conditioning product sells in Europe under the name Natea.

In-store displays and sampling also will be used.

Clairol will spend an estimated $20 million to $30 million to show off its reformulated Ultress, with a campaign from Foote, Cone & Belding, New York, that's expected to break in early August.

New Ultress Custom Color features an adjustable color formula that allows users to vary the highlights by changing the mix of the coloring gel.

Clairol also will break a new campaign in late summer for its flagship Nice 'N Easy hair color brand, from Kaplan Thaler Group. It will be the shop's first

Most Popular
In this article: