BEAUTY CARE

Crest Pro-Health campaign to promote total oral health

BY Antoinette Alexander

Consumers are tightening their budgets amid today’s economic crunch, but the oral care team at consumer products giant Procter & Gamble remains optimistic about 2009 as it works to help retailers drive sales by transforming shopper insights into actionable ideas via an integrated marketing campaign highlighting the health benefits of its Pro-Health platform and a pipeline of innovative products.

“If you think about oral care, we call it ‘cradle to grave’ in terms of appealing to young children all the way through dentures. So in these challenging economic times, the key is for retailers to really look at categories that are going to be able to continue to deliver top line and bottom line growth,” Sally Schoen, category sales manager for oral care at P&G, told Drug Store News. “We have a tremendous history of doing that with Crest and Oral B, and we are really very excited about the future of Pro Health as one of what we are calling our ‘mega properties.’”

The Crest Pro-Health platform made its debut in the first half of 2005 with the highly promoted launch of Crest Pro-Health rinse. The portfolio has since expanded with such products as Crest Pro-Health toothpaste and, more recently, Crest Pro-Health whitening paste.

What makes Pro-Health toothpaste unique, for example, is that with its exclusive proprietary Crest technology, the Polyfluorite System, it is the first and only toothpaste with the American Dental Association seal that freshens breath and protects against gingivitis, tartar, plaque, sensitivity, stains and cavities.

In 2008—and continuing strong into 2009—P&G kicked off an integrated marketing campaign aimed at helping consumers understand the importance of good oral health and the benefits of Pro-Health. More specifically, if they use Pro-Health rinse, Pro-Health toothpaste and a Pro-Health toothbrush together, they will see “up to seven times better cleaning” with regular use versus a regular manual toothbrush and regular anti-cavity toothpaste.

“Retailers are thrilled about it because everybody is trying to get one more product in the buggy. Also importantly, these are products that are all at a higher transaction size in terms of trade up, and so it is an ability to grow the category through better enhanced technologies, and there’s also a nice dollar profit that comes with that as well,” said Schoen.

Having consumers understand the health benefits of Pro-Health and to view the products as preventive care is essential to driving growth in today’s economy. In other words, spending a few extra dollars on Pro-Health products, versus trading down to low-cost oral care products, could very well save consumers big money on their next dental visit.

“Pro-Health is really affordable health care.… If we are able to demonstrate to folks through things like ‘7× better cleaning’ they understand for $2 that is a pretty good value versus the alternative of having cavities filled,” Schoen noted.

Underscoring the need to help consumers understand the benefits of good oral health care is the findings of a national public opinion survey recently revealed by the ADA in collaboration with P&G’s Crest and Oral B brands.

According to the survey, 80 percent of Americans agree that taking care of their mouth, teeth and gums is absolutely needed. However, only one-third of respondents say they do an excellent job of taking care of their mouth, teeth and gums, and fewer still say their oral health is excellent (26 percent). About the same number (23 percent) rate their oral health as only fair or poor.

The survey presents the findings of a nationally representative sample of 1,000 Americans ages 18 and older.

For 2009, P&G also is putting together a cause-related marketing campaign to help raise funds for Operation Smile, a worldwide children’s medical charity. As part of the campaign, Crest and Oral B purchases will help fund P&G’s ability to partner with Operation Smile through proceeds and donations. Since its founding in 1982, Operation Smile volunteers have treated more than 120,000 children born with cleft lips, cleft palates and other facial deformities.

To help retailers bring these initiatives to life in their stores and bolster sales, P&G has put together an arsenal of tools, including in-store displays and Web site tie-ins. Perhaps most important is the remerchandising of the three Pro-Health products together as a regimen, according to P&G.

“Those [retailers] that are really growing from the category the fastest are really driving the regimen even more aggressively so they are finding ways to do that. Some retailers are more interested in the singular price point, but they are finding ways, whether it is clip strips or other things if there is a corporate directive, to get around that because they are seeing the incrementality and the results,” Schoen said. “We have seen a lot of movement, where probably a year and half ago it was a bit of an uphill battle. For those who have tried it, they have gotten demonstratively better results.”

Added Schoen, “We need the partnership of retailers to support that direction as well and not allow some of the dismal outlook to be a self-fulfilling prophecy.”

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L’Oreal Paris develops sulfate-free EverPure hair care line

BY Antoinette Alexander

NEW YORK L’Oreal Paris is rolling out for early 2009 its new EverPure line of sulfate-free color care hair products.

EverPure is free of harsh sulfates, surfactants and salts that can strip and dull color-treated hair. In place of harsh ingredients, EverPure features an Anti-Fade System of shampoos and conditioners. According to L’Oreal, testing shows color to last up to 32 washes.

For an aromatherapeutic and spa-like experience, the 100-percent vegan formulas are infused with rosemary, juniper and mint extracts.

The collection includes EverPure Moisture, Smooth or Volume formulas. The conditioners and masques feature both UVA and UVB filters to help protect hair from UV rays. For additional coverage, there’s also a UV Protect Spray that can be used on all hair types. Suggested retail prices range between $6.99 and $8.99.

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Ulta reports profits for third quarter 2008

BY Antoinette Alexander

ROMEOVILLE, Ill. Beauty retailer Ulta posted double-digit gains in sales and profit during the third quarter but lowered its full year guidance in light of the challenging economy.

“In these unprecedented times, we remain confident in our strategies and financial position,” said Lyn Kirby, president and chief executive officer. “We are pleased with the recent start to the holiday season and the strategies that are driving these results, and if consumers continue to spend on their current trend, we would anticipate delivering fourth quarter comp sales in line with third quarter performance. However, we recognize that the majority of the gift season remains in front of us in the most volatile economy we have seen in decades.”

Net sales for the quarter ended Nov. 3 rose 22.4 percent to $254.8 million. Same-store sales rose 2 percent.

Net income rose 19.3 percent to $5 million. Income per diluted share was 9 cents compared with 5 cents per share in the year-ago period.

During the quarter, the company opened 21 stores, including its first urban location on State Street in Chicago, and ended the period with 304 stores.

For the full year, income per diluted share is now expected to be between 47 cents and 51 cents, which compares to its previous guidance range for income per diluted share of 52 cents to 57 cents.

Net sales for the full year are expected to be between $1.1 billion and $1.11 billion, compared with its previous guidance range of net sales between $1.12 billion to $1.13 billion and versus net sales last year of $912.1 million.

For 2009, the company trimmed its new store expansion pace to 15 percent to 20 percent square footage growth.

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