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Covergirl Case Study

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CoverGirl is an American mass marketed colour cosmetics brand based out of Cincinnati, Ohio. The brand currently sits atop its native market in the US and holds the third spot on the list of best selling brands in the Canadian market as of 2009**. CoverGirl is a subsidiary of Proctor and Gamble (P&G), a hugely recognized multinational corporation who currently enjoys the 22nd spot on the list of fortune 500 companies in the United States with just under $80 billion (USD) of annual revenue. P&G has been around for over 170 years and has a massive product line that spans multiple industries, with their three key pillars being Beauty and Grooming, Health and well being, and Household care. The CoverGirl brand image has long been synonymous with clean, wholesome, and beautiful - with their current slogan being the easily recognizable "Easy, breezy, beautiful CoverGirl" So what has brought this brand to where it stands today? What does the competitive landscape it operates in look like? And most importantly what should it do moving forward to continue its success and growth? This paper will address these questions and look to build a comprehensive analysis of the CoverGirl brand as a whole.


Originally founded in 1909 by the then Noxema Chemical Company in Baltimore, Maryland, today the company is known as Noxell, famous for its medical skin cream by the name of Noxzema. Originally produced as a sunburn remedy, Noxzema has since been a favourite for consumers seeking relief for irritated skin. The concept for CoverGirl came from a desire to market Noxema's medicated face cream to woman on a larger, more accessible scale as a cosmetics prodcut. To do this they decided to market through the use of models on the covers of magazines wearing the makeup, and thus the name was coined - "CoverGirl". Strangely, it was not until 1961 that CoverGirl cosmetics was nationally launched. Originally their product line included three products; a liquid foundation, pressed powder and loose powder, all in three shades. The introduction of the product line was met with huge success, and through it CoverGirl became the market leader if face foundation. They soon added tube make-up and brush-on blush, and so began the expansion of their product line - a trend that would continue until today. In 1962, they signed a sixteen-year-old model by the name of Jennifer O'Neill as their spokesperson. This would prove to be a more significant move than anyone surmised at the time, as she would go on to become the face of the brand in the eyes of consumers over a thirty year relationship with the company. Her success at marketing the product was only enhanced by her paralleling with the Baby Boomer demographic as they aged; a demographic that to this day makes up the majority of North America's consumer base, and thus whom CoverGirl inevitably targeted heavily. Throughout the nineteen sixties and seventies the brand expanded its line to include lipstick (1964), eye products (1971), and nail products (1977), which completely their coverage of the four major areas of cosmetics: face, lips, eyes, and nails.

Their continual growth caught the attention of consumer goods titan Proctor & Gamble in the late 1980's, and in 1989 the corporation bought both the CoverGirl brand and Noxell, the company behind its inception.

So CoverGirl made its way into the nineties, a decade that would serve to be debatably the brands most defining period. This began in 1992 with the signing of Canadian model Lana Ogilvie. CoverGirl had always promoted natural beauty, but the industry had been one dominated by Caucasian modeling in advertisement. With this contract, CoverGirl broke the mold and made Lana the first African American to be signed by a non-ethnic cosmetics company. This trend would explode onto the cosmetics scene, and has continued through to modern day where a vast number of ethnicities are represented and utilized for targeted marketing. 1997 marks one of the most significant years in CoverGirl's history. They had enjoyed a dominant position in the industry for almost 40 years, but because of this, they had become complacent as a competitive business. When the nineties brought about new trends towards more exciting, flashy cosmetics, market shares started to decline and suddenly CoverGirl realized it had an issue. Its faithful generation of consumers were getting old, and it had to do something in accordance with a different set of consumer needs to attract the next generation. They then partnered up with company Grey Advertising with the intent of reworking their brand image. They wanted their products to be seen as easy to use, a breeze to put on, and for consumers still to embrace their natural beauty - thus Marc Pritchard, the man contracted to create the new marketing campaign, created "Easy, breezy, beautiful CoverGirl". Slightly move luxurious than its modest roots, the brand update proved to be incredibly successful and resulted in the brand becoming the "number one mass-market share position in the U.S., Canada and Switzerland, while also doubling its share in Mexico and substantially increasing sales in Australia"** Here the modern day CoverGirl emerged, a fashionable colour cosmetics line focused upon offering fresh and natural products at competitive prices to woman all over the world.

Market Analysis

Industry Overview

Cover girl competes in the $1.275 billion colour cosmetics industry. The industry is further broken down into 4 segments: Eye make-up, Facial make-up, Lip products, and Nail products. Eye-make up, composing of mascara, eyeliner, and eye shadow is the largest segment, holding 31% of the market with $396.6m. The lip products segment, including lipstick, lip-liners, and lip-gloss, is valued at $373.5m, securing 29% of the market. Following close behind with a 28% share and a value of $354.6m is the facial make-up segment. This segment includes foundations, powders, concealers, bronzer, and blush. The last and smallest segment is the Nail-products segment, composed of nail polish and removers. It accounts for 12% of the market with a $150.3m value.

Market Growth

The colour cosmetic industry has been experience consistent growth in recent years. Since 2004, the industry has grown from a $1015.6m value in 2004 to the $1275m value it is today, representing annual average growth of 5.1% and a total 5-year growth of 25.5%. Growth reached a peak during this period in 2007, growing 6.4% from 2006. However, the onset of the recession in late 2007 has had an effect on the industry, with annual growth reaching a 5-year low from 2008-2009, at a mere 2.2%.

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