health and beauty aids

P&G Gambles On Olay's 'Masstige'

Olay ProX

There are brand extensions, and there are brand leaps: Procter & Gamble's Olay is about to take quite a flier.

The company says it will roll out Olay Professional-Pro-X, a skincare line as expensive as those sold in department stores, in mass outlets. Previous iterations of Olay have segmented the market by age group, with its Definity targeting women 45-plus, Regenerist wooing the 40-plus crowd, and Total Effects--which was introduced in 2000-- aimed at women 30 and older, in addition to its flagship Olay products.

And while those Olay "boutique" brands pushed price points well beyond most supermarket prices, they hover in the $20 range. Professional Pro-X will cost twice that, with the six products priced at $42, and a starter kit for $62.

It seems farfetched to imagine women trading up from lower price points at a time when grocery-store bills are top of mind (not to mention the constant economic-doom headlines.) But with so many consumers making conscious efforts to curb spending, Olay may well convince women to trade down from pricier department store labels, as they decide the elimination of crow's feet and laugh lines should take up a smaller portion of the family fortune.



By some industry estimates, the anti-aging skincare market has grown 63% in the last five years to about $1.7 billion in sales in the U.S. Experts expect it to continue to grow as more Baby Boomers confront their Botox years, and younger women embrace anti-aging products long before their mothers did.

P&G is backing the high-end line with high-end science, claiming that it is based on ingredients derived from the latest in genomics research--chemicals that re-signal skin to behave as if it were younger.

The line includes six products: Age Repair Lotion SPF 30, Wrinkle Smoothing Cream, Hydra Firming Cream, Deep Wrinkle Treatment, Eye Restorative Complex and Discoloration Fighting Concentrate. The company says it will be available online in December, and in stores in January.

P&G's beauty division, which brought in $22 billion in sales in its latest fiscal years, competes most directly with such brands as Johnson & Johnson's Neutrogena and L'Oreal's Garnier. With this launch, it's also up against such brands as Estee Lauder's Clinique and L'Oreal's Lancome.

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