CoverGirl: an America's Hottest Brands Case Study

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Cover Girl
Tony Pettinato
In past years, Procter & Gamble Co. has lost face in cosmetics as it's shed both share and brands in a competitive business, but CoverGirl appears to have turned a corner and kept the momentum going strong.

In 2008, LashBlast mascara gave CoverGirl its strongest offering yet in eye makeup and allowed it to take share from a stronghold of rival L'Oréal's Maybelline. One key to the product's success was a new brush -- a big improvement on days earlier in the decade, when P&G was still buying brushes from L'Oréal.

This year's launches of Simply Ageless foundation with Olay moisturizers and Outlast Lipstain, the first mass product of its kind, built the momentum.

By the third quarter of 2009, CoverGirl's market share was up 3.5 points from early 2007 in eye makeup, and its shares in facial makeup and lipstick were up 3.2 and 2.1 points, respectively, from a year ago, according to Information Resources Inc. data from Deutsche Bank.

LashBlast became the top mass mascara in the U.S. four months after its launch last year, according to P&G, with Simply Ageless reaching a similar mark in anti-aging foundation in four months this year.

Vince Hudson
Vince Hudson, marketing director, CoverGirl North America, Procter & Gamble Co.
Leading the marketing effort behind those big gains has been Vince Hudson, 38, who has a history of being where big things happen. He was part of P&G's earliest online marketing and e-commerce teams in the late 1990s, brand manager for the launch of Crest Whitestrips in 2000, and marketing director on Prilosec OTC three years later in what became a record-selling Rx to over-the-counter switch.

In an e-mail, Mr. Hudson credits Drew Barrymore, an innovative brush and a big orange tube for pushing LashBlast to the top. Turning Ellen DeGeneres into a CoverGirl model helped do the trick for Simply Ageless, as did the partnership with Olay. And Outlast Lipstain has gotten a heavy dose of digital, putting CoverGirl in the lead among P&G brands in reliance on digital marketing, with as much as 10% of its measured-media spending there, not counting extensive mobile marketing.

"Many of our consumers want to be the first to know about the latest trends in makeup and go online to find out what's new and hot," Mr. Hudson said. "We update our website frequently with new product information and tips and tricks from experts. Women can also upload their personal photos, try on different shades and speak with a beauty consultant 24 hours a day."

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