A slew of new dental-care products, a major ad campaign from Revlon and the ongoing "razor wars" all are expected to drive health/beauty business for the networks this year. The category spent less on network prime last year than the year previous, investing $802.3 million, a 4.3 percent decline from 2002, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus. Meanwhile, the two biggest spenders in the sector—Procter & Gamble and Johnson & Johnson—both boosted their outlay by double digits compared to 2002.
P&G continues to spend big in prime time to promote Crest Whitestrips teeth whitener as well as the new Crest SpinBrush Pro Whitening battery-operated toothbrush and Crest Vivid White toothpaste. This, as P&G expects by June to have settled on an agency to handle its $2.5 billion North American media-planning account, now in review; incumbents Publicis Groupe's Starcom MediaVest Group and Grey Global Group's MediaCom are contenders, and the company this month was reported to be in talks with Aegis Group's Carat and Havas' MPG.
P&G's spending in prime jumped 16.2 percent to $152.9 million over 2002, due to spots for products like Crest Whitestrips and Olay Daily Facials. P&G currently is using network to promote its new Old Spice Red Zone men's antiperspirant/deodorant, targeting young men. P&G's Olay is promoting its new Olay Body Scrub and In-Shower Body Lotion, as well as Regenerist. And from P&G's Cover Girl comes the new Tru Blend.
Johnson & Johnson, the No. 2 spender, continues to invest major bucks in network prime to promote brands like Aveeno, Neutrogena and Carefree. Last year, it laid out $49.3 million on network prime.Unilever is investing heavily in network to promote its Axe men's antiperspirant/deodorant, last year laying out $8 million, a 123.2 percent jump over 2002.
L'Oréal spent less in prime time last year ($31.9 million, down 8.8 percent from 2002) but this year could be boosting its outlay due to a range of new products under Vive, Superior Preference and Feria haircare lines (including a new Vive for Men), as well as new lines like Alt.Studio.
Maybelline, whose network investment last year was flat, is looking at several new launches, including Colorama nail polish, Volum' Express Turbo Boost mascara and Forever Metallics lipstick.
Gillette, one of the 10 biggest spenders in network prime last year, with a $31.5 million investment, is using network to promote new products such as its M3Power men's shaver, the Venus Divine women's razor, the hot Braun/ Oral-B electric toothbrush, the just-launched Oral-B Hummingbird flossing system and the June launch of Oral-B Brush-Ups teeth wipes.
Meanwhile, Schick is also using heavy network prime to push its men's four-blade razor Quattro and women's shaver Intuition. Gillette announced last month that it was acquiring the Rembrandt brand of at-home and professional teeth-whitening products from Den-Mat Corp.
This month, Revlon—last year's eighth biggest spender on network prime, with $33.7 million—announced a major ad campaign with a reported $100 million price tag, featuring spokeswomen Halle Berry, Julianne Moore, Eva Mendes and Jaime King. The network portion of the multimedia appeal is quite innovative, having kicked off with a two-minute "mini movie" during the season premiere of ABC's The Bachelor on April 7.—Tony Case
Candace Corlett, partner with the New York-based marketing and retailing consultancy WSL Strategic Retail and a former consumer-products exec with Germain Monteil Cosmetiques/Revlon and Bristol-Myers Squibb, says that with the growing array of choices in everything from battery-operated toothbrushes to the latest, multiblade disposable razor, network TV will be ever crucial in nudging consumers to "trade up" to the latest, newfangled health/beauty product. "The cosmetics market has seen real declines in unit sales," she explains. "Shoppers are pushing back and saying, 'I have accumulated drawers full of eye shadow and makeup. What's a good reason for me to trade up to the next price point, or to buy another one?'"
Corlett points out that, while so much health/beauty marketing continues to target younger demos, more and more skincare and beauty products are, smartly, marketing to people over the age of 45. Procter & Gamble last year invested $38.2 million alone in network prime to promote older-targeted Oil of Olay products, from Olay Daily Facials skin cleaners to Olay Regenerist moisturizer, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus. Meanwhile, actress Andie McDowell, at 46, is one of the marquee faces of L'Oréal's network spots. "You now have 38 percent of the adult population over 50," Corlett says. "It's much too big to ignore."—T.C.