With Underwood, Gen Y Gets First Wrinkle Cream


  Looks like it's time for Gen Y to start thinking about crow's feet: Procter & Gamble says it has tapped music sensation Carrie Underwood, who is 27, as its first-ever North American Celebrity Ambassador for Olay Skin Care. The endorsement is the first beauty contract for the country star, and a bit of a departure for Olay, which uses celebrities more in its global marketing than in the U.S.

While it's no surprise that Olay would step up efforts to woo younger women -- especially given the buying power of the Millennials -- what is interesting is how increasingly receptive younger women seem to be to anti-aging products. Teen queen Vanessa Hudgens (yes, the one the one from "High School Musical" fame) made news recently when she 'fessed up to using anti-aging products regularly, at 21.



Some 16% of Millennial women say anti-aging properties are so important to them that they would pay more for them when making beauty purchases, reports the Futures Company, a market research firm. Interestingly, even more Millennial men -- 18% -- say anti-aging matters to them. And earlier this week, at a conference for investors, P&G said it expects skincare, including products from Olay and Gillette, to be one of its biggest drivers of revenue growth.

In its announcement, P&G says Underwood will reach out to "a new generation of women" in a campaign called "Challenge What's Possible," scheduled to break later this year.

While Olay uses such brand ambassadors as actress Maggie Cheung in Greater China, singer and actress Lucero in Latin America, and actress Thandie Newton in the U.K., Underwood is the first for North America. Olay's competitors, however, are big on the ambassador approach: Reese Witherspoon, for example, represents Avon; Revlon uses such celebs as Jessica Biel, Halle Berry, and Jennifer Connelly, and Neutrogena (owned by Johnson & Johnson) works with actresses Emma Roberts and Miranda Cosgrove.

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