First National Ad Campaign for Sea & Ski Since 1970s

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CINCINNATI ( -- Sea & Ski suntan lotion gets its first national advertising since the 1970s with a $2.5 million print and radio campaign from Harris Drury Cohen, Ft. Lauderdale, breaking in May magazines and network radio.

The Faulding Consumer division of Mayne Nickless Ltd., which bought Sea & Ski in 2000, hopes to restore the brand to its former glory of the 1970s, when it was No. 2 in the category behind Coppertone.

Ads for the product, with contemporary packaging but the original scent, tout the addition of astazanthin, an antioxidant claimed to help combat effects of sun exposure -- perhaps to get moms ages 25 to 49 who may have used the product themselves to use it on their children.

Sea & Ski slipped from prominence and store shelves as it became a "non-core" brand for a succession of corporations in the 1980s, said Frank Reilly, marketing director at Faulding. Ultimately, he hopes to restore Sea & Ski to No. 3 or better within four years.

"Moms younger than 30 probably will not remember us from years ago," Mr. Reilly said. "But our position is that Sea & Ski is not the same brand it was years ago -- that it's contemporary and really on the leading edge."

Still, consumer research found that "Sea & Ski" was the best-testing name possible even for a new suntan lotion entering the market. And Faulding retained the scent after finding it provoked vivid and pleasant memories of vacations past for large numbers of consumers.

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