Suzanne and Bob Grayson are respected, professional marketers, having spent their careers with the leading companies in the beauty industry before staring their successful consulting business in the early 1970s.
Their consulting clients have included Avon, Bristol-Myers, Estée Lauder, Procter & Gamble, Revlon and Cover Girl, among others. They reside in San Juan Capistrano, CA and maintain an office in New York City. For more information, they can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Consider the difference between the two brands. Essentially, if you use one Tide basic laundry product you don’t need any of the others. Then why have the others? Competition, shelf presence, technology, an over-zealous product manager.
But many of the Dove products are used with, or in addition to, one another. The deodorant, shampoo, body wash, bar soap (face), cleansing cloths, night cream and so on. The net is that Tide has extended its brand but not its reach, while Dove has developed a “house” with many products. One might even spin it off in an IPO as a stand alone, $2 billion company. Thus, we can make the case that there are “line extensions” and “brand extensions”—and there is a world of difference.
Which brings us to Avon and its Anew iterations, stemming from the original huge success, Anew Clincal Line and Wrinkle Corrector. There is Anew Ultimate Transforming Lift Eye, Night Transforming Lift, Day Transforming Lift and Hand and Nail Cream. There is Anew Retroactive Skin Optimizer, 2-in-1 Cleanser, Repair Eye Serum, and Repair Body Lotion, and Anew Line Eliminator Neo-Retinol Line Plumper and Dual Retinol Facial Treatment. Then the prior introductions, Anew Clinical Lift and Tuck, Deep Crease Concentrate, 2-Step Facial Peel, Micro-Exfoliant, and Laser System. Finally, not to be forgotten, Anew All-in-One Max SPF 15 Cream and Max SPF 15 Lotion. Whew! And, no doubt, we missed several.
So, now consider Tide, Dove and Anew. With Tide, only one product is necessary and if she makes a mistake little downside risk. With Dove, a woman can use most of the products—a total brand devotee. If she finds a deodorant that she likes better, she can just drop that Dove product and move on. With Anew so many of the products “sound” like others, it is almost impossible to make a selection. When adding line extensions, especially with similar benefits, marketers carefully parse words in an attempt at differentiation—assuming that consumers will perceive the differences. That’s where the blur comes in. Most consumers, and more specifically mass consumers, tend to want many/all benefits in one product. And they don’t see the differences which marketing intends
Whether they’re sold in mass or prestige channels, these ads for L’Oréal, Neutrogena, Lancôme and Estée Lauder (below) all make similar product claims.
Is It Worth It?
One of the old—very old—axioms in advertising goes like this: “Nothing has been said about a 50-cent cigar that hasn’t been said about a 5-cent cigar.” Have we come to that with moisturizers and anti-aging creams? We think so. About 54% of the women polled believed that they were overpaying for cosmetics in specialty stores, and 50% felt the same way about cosmetic prices in department stores. Moisturizers were about the same, according to recently reported research. Of course, if you think the glass is half full, then you could say, “Wow, 50% of the women think that department and specialty store products are priced right.”
Consider this. If you believe that there is a value component to the expression of product satisfaction, you might conclude that there is a reason that the department store channel continues to get a smaller share of the total market. Of course, vendors and retailers tend to look at total dollar figures and so, if they are up modestly, they don’t really feel the share loss. But, does anyone look at unit sales? With most new products coming in at higher prices, not to mention the new luxury treatment segment, actual numbers of women will be down. No wonder the struggle to “anniversary” volume.
Dove’s real people advertising strategy is real effective.
We are reluctant (but not absolutely reluctant) to repeat the marketing mantra “differentiation.” Another old, but not so very old, axiom is “if you cannot differentiate your product, only price will sell.” And that axiom is working every day in mass outlets. What we may see here is a “tiering” in department stores, with the middle-priced brands suffering the most, as in many other classes of goods and society. Clinique holds/owns the entry price/aspirational skin care segment, although it is inching up in new product pricing. Lancôme and Lauder have increased their offerings in luxury skin care to meet Chanel, Sisley, La Mer, et. al. The middle tier, Estée Lauder, Lancôme, Dior, etc., products are head-to-head, and more vulnerable. At least, Clarins and Origins appeal to a different consumer; i.e. differentiation.
Two that work. Both visuals for these Infusium 23 are very effecitve.
That brings us back to differentiation—new ingredients and new claims are the basic entry price. Differentiation must go beyond them. Easy to say, not so easy to do. But, as we’ve said before, “that’s why marketers and creatives get paid the big bucks.”
Dove Gets Real
Unilever’s strategy with Dove not only differentiates the brand but it continues to get editorial coverage in a variety of news stories. Alas, if only the products delivered what the “real lady’s” copy implies. Now too, Nike is into hips and bad knees. And Vaseline Intensive Care eschews the svelte for curvaceous. (Guess everyone at Unilever is reading the same research.)
Off the mark. This ad for Tropez cosmetics just doesn’t resonate with Latinas.
Mixed and Missed Execution
The Tropez (Markwins) ad in Elle depicts light-skinned Latinas (aspirational or non-inclusive?), and a full array of cosmetic products. While we might question its media strategy, our query runs deeper. Non-Anglo color cosmetics and Anglo products are, for the most part, interchangeable. The differentiating factor (not that again!) is the shade range in foundation. That’s what will draw the Latina to the wall–and, of course, once she is there, etc.
The products shown are typical of shades in all lines. Where’s the “key product” position/rationale to validate the line’s reason for being? On the other hand, if she fits the Elle reader’s profile, she might send her chauffeur to pick up one of everything. That would work. None of the separate ethnic lines from Cover Girl, Maybelline, and Revlon were able to survive as complete lines because so many shades are interchangeable.
Each brand subsequently incorporated key ethnic shades into their regular lines. SKU turns of these shades on a national basis? That’s another matter.
A Fine Strategy
In the August issue of Vogue, positioned as the “age” issue, Lancôme has staked out a position which might prove unassailable. It placed an eight page, editorial style insert all about laugh-lines and other miscellaneous maladies that attack the eye area—right in the front of the book. All aiming at the first signs of “age.”
One need only look to the prestige mascara area to realize what Lancôme can achieve. It owns the department store mascara business and may well be on its way with the rest of the eye area. Solid strategy!
Wish We Had Done That
Two great visual impact (semiotic) ads by Infusium 23. Simple stories: “Shield your hair from the frizz” and “Pour moisture back into your hair.” So good, you don’t have to read the copy, just get the message, viscerally. Of course, the little pics at the bottom which tell how the products work could (should?) have been bigger. They are what give you permission to believe.