Brand blending: Procter & Giant combines its Olay and Max Factor brands

LONDON - Packaged-goods giant Proctor & Gamble recently launched its Total Effects Touch of Foundation skincare range, which consists of both its Olay moisturiser brand as well as its Max Factor foundation brand.

Combining two well-known brands in one product is common in the food and drink sector. Diageo teams up with Ocean Spray to offer pre-mixed canned drink Smirnoff Vodka and Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice. It also partners with Schweppes for its Gordon's gin with tonic pre-mixed canned drink.

However, combining skincare brands is less common.

A TV campaign for P&G's Touch of Foundation product recently broke in the UK on the heels of P&G's multibrand UK TV campaign, a first for the domestic market, which ran in May.

The campaign, entitled the ‘Max Factor Makeover Break', took the form of a 'real-life' makeover show. It consisted of three 90-second spots shown over consecutive ad breaks.

It simultaneously promoted a host of P&G personal care products including Max Factor cosmetics and Olay skincare ranges.

The ads, by 4Creative, showed a consumer called Lesley being made over by experts using a range of P&G beauty and grooming products.

Andy Lear, head of planning at ad agency Publicis London, believes the campaign worked as there was clear evidence of the benefit of grouping products together.

He adds that not only does P&G have a collection of products that are relevant to each other, but they create a dramatic impact when used together. 

However, Phil Thomas, marketing director for household and personal care at Reckitt Benckiser, has concerns about P&G's approach. He worries that as consumers may not be familiar with the parent company the link between products may not make sense.

He said it might not be easy for the viewer to understand why those brands had come together. ‘It risks confusing the consumer.'

However, P&G may have chosen just the right time to establish a relationship between Max Factor and its other leading UK brands.

In June, P&G announced it was dropping its Hollywood-associated Max Factor brand in the US. The UK and mainland European therefore became its strongest markets.

Virginia Drosos, president of global female beauty for P&G, confirms: "Max Factor is a strong, profitable brand and remains one of P&G Beauty & Grooming's key engines for global growth.'

It appears P&G is developing new UK-focused marketing techniques to promote its ‘American' brand.  

Promoting similar brands together may boost short-term sales. However, brands are precious and it could prove dangerous to blend them together, as it could destroy a brand image that has been developed over decades.

However, in the case of Max Factor, shaking off its US-focused marketing strategy might work in the brand's favour.



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