P&G’s ‘Rouge’ Goes Nationwide

NEW YORK Procter & Gamble is gearing up for the nationwide launch of its health and beauty magazine, Rouge. The title has been in test markets in the U.S. and Canada, and will now be issued on an ongoing basis to U.S. homes every quarter, the packaged-goods giant said.

Like brandSaver!, P&G’s newpaper insert coupon booklet, Rouge also contains coupon deals for brands like Pantene, Olay and Crest. The magazine is health and beauty focused, with top P&G brands like Clairol, Secret, Venus, Tampax and Always making regular appearances.

P&G expects Rouge to reach 11 million households by mid-October 2010 — seven million in the U.S. and four million in Canada, said P&G rep Cherilyn McMaster. The target is “beauty-involved females,” and P&G identifies new prospects through both those who request the magazine and consumers who’ve shown an interest in beauty as evidenced by their magazine subscriptions or Internet usage patterns. Consumers may choose to cancel their subscription at any time, McMaster added.

In its research, P&G — which is known for extensive, consumer-oriented testing — found that 80 percent of readers found Rouge to be comparable to fashion titles such as Marie Claire and Allure in “quality and design.” More than 72 percent of those reading the magazine expressed an interest in receiving it on a regular basis.

P&G said it will issue 6-7 million copies of Rouge to U.S. consumers each quarter. The magazine will be published by Redwood’s custom publishing unit, Javelin.

This quarter’s issue is 50 pages, with approximately 60 percent dedicated to P&G health and beauty branded editorial coverage; 20 percent to traditional ads; and the remaining 20 percent being “unbranded editorial,” McMaster said. The editorial team at Javelin contributes all copy, and the staff has access to internal and external beauty care experts, celebrities and spokespeople, she added.

P&G sees Rouge as a way to foster long-term relationships with beauty care consumers. It’s also reached out to beauty and budget/money-savings bloggers to get the word out. The move, however, comes as the magazine industry, particularly consumer-oriented glossy titles, have taken a hit due to the recession. This Monday, for instance, famed luxury and fashion publishing house Conde Nast announced it was folding four of its well-known consumer titles, including Gourmet, Cookie and Modern Bride.

Beauty, however, may be a brighter spot. Category experts have noted how consumers are still willing to splurge on small indulgences like a tube of their favorite lipstick or facial cream in a recession. (P&G launched Olay Pro-X, its dermatologist-backed skin care line, for this reason, as the company aimed to catch frugal shoppers trading down from high-end, department store brands.) And beauty ad spending has held up relatively well in print this year. Toiletries and cosmetics print ad pages declined 14.1 percent in the first half of 2009, but within the category, hair products and accessories actually showed an increase. At the same time, total ad pages in magazines declined 27.9 percent, per Publishers Information Bureau.

In addition, beauty continues to be a growth area among consumer magazines. Time Inc.’s InStyle this year introduced a special hair issue that was solely sponsored by Kao. Sibling pub, All You, this month introduced a special fashion and beauty issue, with wardrobe tips for less, do-it-yourself T-shirts and top drugstore beauty products.

See also:

“Video Q&A – P&G’s Mark Pritchard”

“P&G Tries Augmented Reality”

“P&G to Shops: Use These Production Cos.”

Nielsen Business Media