Update on mass-market brands: 2007

This past spring brought several new launches of mass market brands. The Max Factor (owned by P&G) and Almay (owned by Revlon) cosmetics lines were completed revamped, while L’Oreal launched its HIP line and Revlon launched its Vital Radiance line for women over 50. The Style Page wondered how supermarkets, drugstores, and “big box” retailers (Wal-Mart, KMart, Target) were going to accomodate these new brands.

See The Beauty Newsletter for a critique of Almay’s dated eyeshadow concept.

HIP appears to have been a success – L’Oreal has recently expanded the line with two new products: Pure Pigment Shadow Stick and Shocking Shadow Pigments, in addition to new colors for its eye shadow duos(another indicator is that searches on “L’Oreal HIP” are a major driver of traffic to this blog).

Max Factor, however, has been a disappointment: many of the main drugstore chains (CVS, Walgreen’s, Rite-Aid) do not carry the line, and it is found only at Wal-Mart and KMart. Maybe the problem was the ads that featured Carmen Electra wearing scary makeup.

Revlon’s much-hyped launch of Vital Radiance has been a disappointment. Due to lackluster sales of the brand, Wal-Mart, Target, and CVS plan to cut back drastically on the number of stores carrying the brand, while Revlon believes that consumers need more time to know the brand better.

According to WWD, “Market reports indicate that Wal-Mart will trim the line [Vital Radiance] from 2,500 doors to 500, while Target will cut it from 1,500 to 500.”

My take is that consumers were turned off by the prices of Vital Radiance products, which are higher than those for other mass-market brands. Vital Radiance’s target audience of women over 50 are probably value-conscious and rejected the higher prices.

I am not the only one who thinks this way – see comments on my post Vital Radiance UPDATED 2006-02-22.

Revlon should have priced Vital Radiance lower, or issued discount coupons to entice first-time buyers. Then there’s always the dicey proposition of marketing to older women without making them feel … old. An introduction of skin care products planned for 2007 might change Vital Radiance’s fortunes.

Revlon sees a $40 million loss from Vital Radiance. Things haven’t been so great on the personal front either: Revlon Chairman Ron Perelman’s marriage to actress Ellen Barkin ended in February 2006, after five years of marriage.

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