P&G’s Olay Looks to Exploit New Wrinkle in the Market

Procter & Gamble is hoping to snag female beauty shoppers who are defecting from luxury products to mass-market brands with a new campaign behind Olay Professional Pro-X breaking this week.

Advertising for the new line, which starts at $42 and hopes to lure consumers away from Dr. Nicholas Perricone’s anti-aging creams, among others, touts the fact that it was developed with a “top-tier” team of dermatologists. A new TV spot from Saatchi & Saatchi, New York, features a dermatologist consulting a woman’s skin in what appears to be an impeccably clean lab. The approach is much more “information-based,” than previous Olay campaigns, said Keith Bunnell, global account director for Olay at Saatchi & Saatchi.
That’s because unlike earlier sister introductions such as Total Effects, Definity and Regenerist, Olay Professional Pro-X is more expensive and  thus requires more proof to attract upscale shoppers.

 Olay Professional brand manager Tim Bunch said insight for the Olay extension stemmed from the brand’s observation that more and more dermatology-backed skincare products were entering the market, and consumers, overall, were looking for more “scientific and technological proof” in commercial anti-aging products.

Pro-X began shipping in December; stores such as Walgreens and Wal-Mart will start carrying the line next month. But a retail price point of $42, and $62 for the starter kit, has some beauty care analysts, such as Julia Beardwood of Beardwood & Co., New York, wondering how much more consumers are willing to trade up.

Beardwood, an Olay user herself, said that while there will always be women willing to shell out “$40-60 hard-earned cash” for “hope in a bottle,” the real question in tough times is, “How far can Olay stretch?” Beardwood said if consumers are still willing to pay close to $200 for  Crème de La Mer eye cream, then Olay Professional Pro-X is definitely “a savvy buy in a down economy.” Spending for the campaign was not disclosed.