Avon Listens To Reps, Brings Back Basics

Avon Products has listened to its reps, and will return to its roots by offering more holiday items this year.

The direct beauty seller has been focusing on more sophisticated products, such as anti-aging items under the Anew skincare line. The infusion of seasonal gift items is a response to pleas from sales reps for better sellers, and will include home décor, jewelry and fashion items, according to Citigroup analyst Wendy Nicholson.

Avon (along with other beauty marketers) has also been focused on growth in China, with the company having doubled the number of new sales rep recruits in the third quarter there versus the second quarter of 2006, says analyst William Pecoriello of Morgan Stanley.

Nonetheless, the direct seller is also concentrating on brand-building efforts in North America via its "Invest for Growth" strategy, which will include new advertising and product offerings and initiatives to appeal to new reps.

Next month, Avon introduces its first major men's fragrance, the Derek Jeter scent Driven. Getting in on the popularity of celebrity brands, the Yankee baseball star will appear in ads for Driven on ESPN, as well as in Sports Illustrated and on a billboard in Times Square.



Ads will also run in female-skewing magazines including Glamour, People and the Oprah Gift Guide. Creative is handled in house. As an inducement to Avon sales reps, the company is offering commissions of 50 percent on any sales level, versus a typical 50 percent after reaching sales minimums.

In addition, Avon will run contests to give reps an opportunity to meet Jeter and receive autographed memorabilia.

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