Don’t you find it astonishing that the traditional prestige marketers were so embarrassed at the thought of “copying,” that they let Bare Escentuals and the mass market run away with the entire mineral makeup market? Perhaps even more important than the volume miss, consider the 3-4 years of lost counter traffic! Okay, so (grudgingly), the majors all have it now, but without a lot of fanfare. Again, what’s new about mineral makeup, now?
Will Lancôme strike gold with a novel applicator for its mineral makeup collection?
Having found some traction with Ageless Mineral Skin-Transforming Mineral Powder Foundation (loose powder jar, $40, with a separate brush at $36), Lancôme has introduced a vibrating sponge-handle applicator as an integral part of the package to provide the news for its Ôscillation PowerFoundation (12 shades, 0.28oz., $48). Whether or not there is real significance/benefit in the vibration, the news value and advertising of same, as noted in the two audit scores, will bring in the business for the launch.
Prior to minerals and the star role of the big powder brush, consumers applied most loose and pressed makeups with puffs/sponges for five main reasons: ease of covering large areas of the face; lay down and cling of the powder to the skin, especially important for foundation powders; lack of mess; portability; and tradition, powder has always been applied with a puff.
So what do you know? Lancôme went back to a sponge, but added a handle to create a professional look, feel, and similarity to a brush application—all with the added benefit of vibration to seal the deal. Yes, the vibrating sponge is new in the category and rides on the success of the vibrating mascaras. But its real benefits in powder application—especially in a system which requires maneuvering the handle while maintaining constant pressure on the button—are not all that great, nor realized. But watch as the vibration craze catches on, deserved or not.
Let’s look at the analysis and score comments. theBrandAudit strengths in Product were uniqueness and competitive advantage, less so in ease-of-use, perceived benefit of vibration and shade range; i.e., most of the 12 shades are very light for a foundation range. For Positioning, news and believability were highs, with the name bringing it down a bit for lack of beauty benefit or imagery. Consumer Appeal was in package and promotability, but was impacted by price/value, (non-refillability and small product size). Competition was challenging, even considering the news value, since minerals are simply everywhere and at every price point.Also, Bare Escentuals has been expanding prestige distribution, with its boxed presentations creating considerable counter impact. Marketing Potential, which includes issues of brand loyalty and category growth among the 11 points of analysis, was just about average.
The stronger theAdAudit scores were driven by stopping power, news value in the Headline, and extended into Visual Impact, with the plus of excellent package identification and demonstration of vibration. Copy was generally strong, again in news value, positioning and clarity, but weaker in beauty and emotional benefits. Consumer Appeal was high in the all-important “dissonance with current product” and trust, with no notable weaknesses. The industry has been rushing to application and delivery systems in cosmetics and skin care, to create demonstrable product news. All are truly different, but unless there are real, perceived product benefits beyond the applicator to support their higher prices, they will be replaced by the next new “system”—just as recent new products are replaced by newer products. The SKU count rises to an unmanageable number. Wouldn’t you think that truly perceived benefits should play a role in this never-ending scenario?
About the Author
TheBrandAudit is a Grayson Associates proprietary new marketing technique to determine the success potential of a new product concept or execution, prior to launch. Or, for an existing sluggish product or line, it will analyze its strengths and weaknesses, against key competition. The audit score is based upon Grayson Associates’ 29 “keys-to-success” criteria for the key marketing categories of Product, Positioning, Consumer Appeal, Competition and Marketing Potential. A score less than 80 (out of 100) means trouble in the marketplace. TheBrandAudit will appear bi-monthly. Contact: suzanne @graysonassociates.com