CINCINNATI - When Procter & Gamble Co. reveals second quarter earnings results Friday, analysts will be hungry for news on beauty brands.
P&G Chief Financial Officer Jon Moeller set up the expectation in October, when he promised “a strong slate of initiatives coming to market December through March in beauty.” He told analysts to expect an increase in promotional spending in early 2014 to support new product launches.
“There is significant innovation coming,” he added.
Nearly three months later, portions of the new product pipeline have emerged. There are at least nine new product launches in P&G’s beauty division since Moeller’s remarks on Oct. 25, including several new shampoo innovations in its Pantene and Herbal Essences brands, a $50 skin cream from Olay’s Regenerist line, three expansions in the Covergirl product lineup and new deodorant offerings from Secret and Old Spice.
P&G declined requests for interviews on its beauty launches, saying it was in a “quiet period” prior to the release of earnings. A summary of recent launches can be culled from press releases, social media messaging, industry trade publications and other sources.
On Jan. 17, P&G’s Global President of Beauty Deborah Henretta signaled her satisfaction with recent progress by Tweeting:
“January moving so fast already! But has been so productive. Feeling great about the year to come – let’s be the change we want to see!”
At least some of that change is evident in the Pantene brand, which hired Supermodel Gisele Bundchen to be the “new face” of its global branding effort and launched two innovations aimed at promoting healthier hair. The first is the use of an anti-oxidant known as EDDS, which reduces copper buildup and is now part of “most Pantene shampoo formulas," according to a press release . The second innovation is Damage Detox, billed as the first shampoo to reach drug stores and other mass-merchandisers with a “treatment system that cleanses impurities, protects from oxidative damage and provides shine.”
P&G is also experimenting with new brand positioning for Pantene. It debuted its “Shine Strong” marketing campaign in the Philippines with a 60-second ad that urges women not to let gender bias hold them back.
The ad has been viewed nearly 34 million times since it was first published in You Tube in November. It also won the praise of Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, whose “Lean In” movement aims for “a more equal world” and more women in leadership roles.
In a P&G blog post about the campaign, Henretta said: “Pantene and P&G brands reach billions of women around the world, and we want to use this scale and influence to be an agent of change."
Branding blogger Adam Williams said P&G could be trying to reposition its Pantene brand with the cause-related marketing themes that helped Unilever grow its Dove brand in recent years. Pantene’s early campaigns have focused on product benefits, that it makes hair healthier, boosting body and shine. With its new “shine strong” message, P&G ties healthy hair to female empowerment and independence.
“What’s really genius about the ad is the way that P&G leveraged existing brand equity,” Williams wrote at brandfailure.com . “Shine, which Pantene has touted as a benefit for years, takes on all new meaning in this context.”
P&G’s Herbal Essences brand is rolling out more than a dozen new products as part of its Naked collection , a line of premium-priced shampoo with no dyes, heavy residues nor parabens (chemical preservatives). The line includes 11 new products, scented with mint, citrus, herbs and pear and priced between $4.99 and $8.99, according to a Dec. 9 blog post at www.collegefashion.net .
At Covergirl, the new product lineup includes the Bombshell and Flamed Out mascara collections that Moeller described in this Nov. 19 WCPO story . It also includes three new makeup products: The TruMagic skin-perfecting balm, TruFix concealer stick and TruBlend liquid makeup. TruMagic drew mixed reviews on the Nouveau Cheap blogspot in the first month after launch.
P&G’s largest beauty brand, Olay, launched a Regenerist complexion corrector, or CC cream, that is billed in a Jan. 16 press release as the first to combine three skin care formulas to reduce wrinkles and dark spots, provide sun protection and act as a foundation for makeup.
The new Regenerist product carries a recommended retail price of $49.99. It is one of several new products from several manufacturers trying to pinch some market share from prestige skin care products, long offered by department stores.
P&G deodorant brands are also rolling out new products.
Secret recently launched clear gel and invisible solid versions of its Clinical Strength line of deodorants.
Old Spice launched a new line
of “Re-fresh Body Sprays” Jan. 6 with a unique – some might even say creepy – television campaign called “Momsongs.”
It involves mothers stalking their adult sons, who are apparently happy and successful because they’ve learned to “scent responsibly.”
The product is directly aimed at the perception that Axe and other body sprays tend to be over-used by the teenagers who made such products successful. P&G claims its new Old Spice spray employs “a patented cyclic molecule” that releases fragrance as a guy sweats, so “One spray lasts all day.”
Old Spice Marketing Director John Sebastian predicted in a Jan. 16 press release the approach would be “a game changer for the body spray category.”