A Lip Gloss That Four Out Of Five Dentists Would Like

Procter & Gamble’s CoverGirl is cozying up to another in-house brand, Crest, and it’s safe to say the two are an item.

The 13-shade, high-gloss lip line, called CoverGirl Wetslicks Amazemint, marks the first time P&G has used oral health ingredients in its CoverGirl cosmetics formulation.

New shades like “Red Riot” and “Slaphappy,” combined with Crest peppermint oil and blue undertones, deliver a “three-in-one lip gloss experience,” per the product’s marketing materials.

CoverGirl spokeswoman Rihanna serves as the celebrity face for the product. Print ads depict the CoverGirl Wetslicks Amazemint lip gloss topped by a small Crest moniker and mint logo. Tagline: “It’s not a lip gloss. It’s a smile treatment.” Grey Worldwide, New York, handles.

To test the concept, the company gave out 500 free samples in June to female diners at seven P.F. Chang’s China Bistro locations across the country.

The new product could give Crest new cachet with women, said Gary Stibel, founder and CEO of New England Consulting Group, Westport, Conn. “Crest, for the past 10 years, has moved from just toothpaste to standing for healthy mouths and smiles,” he said. Combining it with the fashion-oriented CoverGirl allows Crest to reach out to consumers who are all about looking young and hip, he said.

Laura Ries, president of Ries & Ries, Roswell, Ga., sees the marriage of the two products as being a rocky one: “Lip gloss with Crest? Last time I checked, teeth are in your mouth, not on your lips. And bad breath comes from your mouth, not your lips. Why would you want your lip gloss to taste or smell like toothpaste?”

On the other hand, she noted, P&G has been successful with its co-branding efforts in the past. Adding Febreze to Tide and Downy proved to be a hit.

This month, P&G also leveraged ingredients typically found in health and beauty care (such as silicon in conditioners) to create its upcoming Tide and Downy Total Care line.

The inspiration behind the launch stemmed from equating bright, healthy teeth with consumer confidence, said P&G rep Paige Cali.

Spending for the campaign, which consists mainly of print ads, was not revealed. P&G spent $145 million advertising the CoverGirl line last year (not including online) and $76 million through May 2008. It spent $15 million for its most recent launch, Cover Girl product Outlast, which remains on the user’s lips for as long as 16 hours.