Avon Renews Anew with Jacqueline Bisset

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She may not be a household name today, but back in the 1960s and ’70s Jacqueline Bisset was considered the thinking man’s sex symbol — brainy, witty and (yes) hot. Still looking great at the ripe age of 65, she’s now the thinking woman’s sex symbol … if Avon has its way.

Bisset has signed on as the face of Anew Platinum, the brand’s first skincare products for women 60+. Given the growth in baby boomers, the launch should seem like a sure thing. It’s not.

“I have never seen a cosmetics company address the over-60 woman so directly,” comments Stephen Reilly, founder and CEO of VibrantNation. “I haven’t seen evidence of a real demand.”[more]

Reilly continues to MediaPost: “Because of menopause, we do know there are lots of 52-year-olds out there saying: ‘The product that worked for me when I was 47 doesn’t cut it anymore.’ But I don’t know that there are many 62-year-olds saying: ‘That product I liked at 57 isn’t as effective.'”

David B. Wolfe, head of Wolfe Resources Group, agrees: “It’s really dicey. Age alone is not a very good thing to select an endorser on — there has to be some kind of values that resonate, and it’s very hard to predict.”

Bisset personifies authentic beauty. “She looks beautiful, but she doesn’t believe in plastic surgery. She has poise and she projects confidence,” Andre Baradat, Avon’s VP global skin care and personal care, tells WWD.

Anew Platinum Serum and Night Cream treat dryness and sagging skin with a proprietary ingredient called Paxillium which promotes production of a skin protein called paxillin, vital for collagen and skin elasticity.

“As you get older, your skin seems to empty out a bit,” comments Bisset, who eschews Botox and cosmetic surgery for the benefits of Anew Platinum. “Your skin feels very young and fresh. It feels full afterward.”

Bisset, who in the late 1970s was hailed by Newsweek as “the most beautiful film actress of all time,” will be up against a range of celeb faces. “Procter & Gamble’s Cover Girl uses 50-something Ellen DeGeneres for its Simply Ageless line; L’Oreal uses Diane Keaton, in her 60s, for its Age Perfect, and Andie McDowell, in her 50s, for RevitaLift. Sharon Stone, another 50s bombshell, appears in ads for Dior,” as MediaPost notes.

The opportunity for marketers and brands to address women in their 60’s is, well, ripe as the majority of American women have fallen in the 40+ category for the past two decades, while the cosmetics industry continues focusing younger.

“There will be no growth in the under-50 population in the coming years, and rapid growth in the over-50. It’s like many companies continue to do business with their eyes half shut,” says Wolfe.

Reilly agrees: “There are tens of millions of women in this age group, and they spend a ton of money on beauty products and feel they aren’t ever addressed directly. So Avon reaching out to them and saying ‘we’re here for you’ may be really smart.”

Anew Platinum night cream and serum will be available through Avon reps in November, with TV ads starting in October.

The Anew line, it should be noted, launched in 1992 with products geared at women 30+, 40+ and 50+, and still sells 2,400 jars — hourly.

That’s quite a testament to the power of the Anew line; Bisset’s endorsement for its 60+ skewing Platinum version could help make it the gold standard for women of “a certain age.”

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