Avon Launches 60-Plus Skincare Line

Jackie-Bissett

In a bold move for the wrinkle-phobic world of cosmetics, Avon says it will introduce Anew Platinum, its first skincare line targeted directly at women 60 and older. Marketed with a campaign starring actress Jacqueline Bisset, the line will be available in November.

While the endeavor might seem like a no-brainer -- why not use a glamorous 60-something to sell an anti-aging regime to this affluent (and rather wrinkly) crowd? -- "it's really dicey," David B. Wolfe, head of Wolfe Resources Group, tells Marketing Daily. While women of a certain age certainly don't like the way beauty marketers rely on images of 25-year-olds to talk to them about laugh lines, crow's feet and mature skin, "age alone is not a very good thing to select an endorser on -- there has to be some kind of values that resonate, and it's very hard to predict."

Procter & Gamble's Cover Girl uses 50-something Ellen DeGeneres for its Simply Ageless line; L'Oreal uses Diane Keaton, in her 60s, for its Age Perfect, and Andie McDowell, in her 50s, for RevitaLift. Sharon Stone, another 50s bombshell, appears in ads for Dior.

"I have never seen a cosmetics company address the over-60 woman so directly," Stephen Reily, founder and CEO of VibrantNation and a contributor to Engage:Boomers, tells Marketing Daily. On one hand, he says, he is somewhat skeptical. "I haven't seen evidence of a real demand. Because of menopause, we do know there are lots of 52-year-olds out there saying: 'The product that worked for me when I was 47 doesn't cut it anymore.' But I don't know that there are many 62-year-olds saying: 'That product I liked at 57 isn't as effective,'" he says.

But he also believes Avon may win the loyalty of one of the most spurned beauty demographics. "There are tens of millions of women in this age group, and they spend a ton of money on beauty products and feel they aren't ever addressed directly. So Avon reaching out to them and saying 'we're here for you' may be really smart."

Wolfe also points out that while women become increasingly comfortable with their age, marketing messages about skin -- the place that age is most likely to be evident -- are complex. "Years ago, a company introduced a product with the line 'Beauty doesn't end at 50,' and while it resonated with older women, women who were in their 50s couldn't relate," he says. "It did not sell well."

But marketers' bigger beauty gaffe, he says, is continuing to ignore the needs of aging women. "Since 1989, the majority of women in the U.S. have been over the age of 40, and yet through most of that time the cosmetics industry has focused on younger and younger women. There will be no growth in the under-50 population in the coming years, and rapid growth in the over-50. It's like many companies continue to do business with their eyes half shut."

Part of the issue, he concedes, is simple human development: "As women age, once they turn 40, they increase in confidence and become less influenced by external events, including marketing."

The Anew Platinum products, which include a night cream and serum, will be sold through reps, and Bisset will also appear in the pages of the Avon brochure. TV ads are set to break in October, an Avon spokesperson tells Marketing Daily, followed by a magazine campaign in November issues.

Avon's Anew line, first launched back in 1992, continues to be one of the industry's most successful, with Avon saying it sells 2400 jars an hour.

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