Ad Track: Cosmetics companies tout mineral-based makeup

There's a new rock star in cosmetics: mineral-based makeup.

Beauty marketers are rushing to mine the trend with more foundation, blush, eye shadow and other cosmetics with natural-sounding "mineral" formulations and ingredients such as titanium dioxide, mica and potassium. The products with finely ground minerals are being promoted as sheer, "natural" looking and less irritating to skin than chemical-based products.

In-store promotions for Maybelline's new Mineral Power line, for example, describe it as "more natural" and "healthier."

Sales have taken off. Mass-market stores, including Wal-Mart wmt, sold $149 million worth of mineral-based cosmetics last year, according to tracker Information Resources. That was more than double 2006 sales of $69 million, and dwarfs the $4.5 million sold in 2005. Those totals don't include "prestige" or high-end department store brands and direct sales via infomercials and websites.

A third of women said they wanted mineral-based makeup in a 2007 survey by market researcher Mintel.

The industry has responded with a barrage of mineral-based cosmetic products: 451 in 2007, vs. 132 in 2005 in the U.S. market, according to Datamonitor's Productscan Online.

Among recent launches, a line from Revlon and an expansion of the Laura Mercier Luxury Minerals Collection into eye shadows and blush for sale at department stores and high-end boutiques.

The trailblazer has been mineral makeup mammoth Bare Escentuals bare, says Karen Grant, senior beauty industry analyst at The NPD Group. The company, founded in 1976, has recently expanded its mineral-based offerings to include blemish fighters and face cleansers. The company — which sells on its website, on home-shopping TV channel QVC, with infomercials and at retail stores — raked in $511 million in 2007 sales, up 30% from 2006.

April Berman, 37, became a fan of Bare Escentuals' Bare Minerals foundation line after spending $75 last year on a starter kit of mineral powders and application brushes. Berman has rosacea, which can make a complexion look ruddy, and says the makeup provides good coverage.

"I'm really very happy with it," says the Wayne, N.J., resident. "I would never go back to the other (brands)."

Cosmetics expert John Bailey, chief scientist at trade group The Personal Care Products Council, warns buyers that not all mineral makeup is equal. "There's not really a rigid definition of what it is or what it's supposed to accomplish. It really comes down to each company's individual representation of it."

Dermatologist Leslie Baumann, author of The Skin Type Solution, is critical of any claim the makeup is healthier. "It is mainly marketing hype. The minerals in it have never been shown to be beneficial for your skin."

In on the mineral trend:

•Revlon. rev Its ColorStay Mineral Collection launched late last year, but marketing ramped up with new TV and print ads this month. Actress and new mom Halle Berry (the ads were shot when she was four months pregnant) touts the makeup's staying power.

The commercials show Berry applying the makeup, then wearing it to appointments through the day and evening. Packaging also touts "up to 16-hour wear."

"The idea is that it's healthy and natural and beautiful — and that it lasts," senior product manager Erika Kussmann says.

•L'Oréal Paris. Actress Penelope Cruz is the celebrity spokeswoman in print and TV ads for the Bare Naturale line. The company also runs mall tour programs in which makeup artists demonstrate the products on shoppers.

•Neutrogena Cosmetics. While some may doubt the skin-enhancing powers of mineral makeup, product director Katie Decker says the Mineral Sheers line is clinically proven to "improve skin clarity, tone and texture." Print ads now in entertainment and beauty magazines promote the claim. The company also just launched online banner ads with an embedded 20-second video clip showing how to apply the makeup. They also promote, a site with makeover tips for occasions such as a blind date or grabbing coffee with a friend.

•Bare Escentuals. The company drives much of its brand awareness though product demonstrations on QVC and with cable network infomercials. In 2007, Bare Escentuals broadcast its infomercials an average of 500 times per week, with resulting direct sales of $128 million. It also offers hands-on demonstrations at company-owned boutiques and at retailers such as Sephora.


Tune in and wash up.

First Dove tried to reach young girls by trying to build their self-esteem. Now, Dove is trying to woo 20somethings by trying to quiet the "inner critical voice" of those women who consider themselves their own worst critic, according to a Dove study with 500 women.

The study findings have helped shape the Unilever brand's latest marketing with a series of three minute ads that look like a mini TV series. A five-week run of Fresh Takes that stars Grammy winner Alicia Keys. The "show" sponsored by Dove's go fresh products — deodorants, body mists, body wash, beauty bar, hand and body lotion, shampoos and conditioners — begins Monday during the first commercial pod of MTV's The Hills the networks' top rated show with young women. The ad show will also be available to watch on computers and mobile phones. Keyes plays the confident "Alex" who helps her two female buddies navigate careers and social lives.

"This delivers exciting, daring branded entertainment to these consumers," says Sam Chadha, director of marketing for Unilever deodorants.

"This is the way 20somethings are consuming their media. The landscape has really changed."

And MTV gets its. "We're trying more and more to be innovative and creative different partners," says John Shea, executive vice president of integrated marketing for MTV Networks. "It's the name of the game these days."

Bottoms up.

In a move giving new meaning to "dirty" in a dirty martini (normally spiked with olive juice), spirits-maker Star Industries wants a prostitute's posterior for its Georgi vodka ads. CEO Martin Silver says Ashley Alexandra Dupre, the high-priced hooker connected with former New York governor Eliot Spitzer, received a "low-six-figure" payment to be its new ad image. "We all got together, our ad guy and PR guy, and said, 'Let's spend some money and see if we can hire this girl.' "

Spitzer might be one of a select few to recognize Dupre if she takes the job. The brand's bus and taxi ads are known for featuring only the model's derrière in a skimpy bikini bottom.

Chrysler wants you.

The automaker plans an online "customer advisory board." The goal is "to establish a two-way dialogue" to glean consumer insights, chief marketing officer Deborah Meyer says.

Discussion won't be limited to cup-holder placement or the design merits of side vents. She says participants will be asked about everything from safety issues to environmental concerns to opinions on Chrysler's ads. Folks interested in joining can apply at — where they'll have to answer questions such as, "Do you own or have you considered owning a Chrysler, Jeep or Dodge vehicle?"

The compensation? No money, prizes — or free cars, says Justin Cooper, co-founder of technology company Passenger, which is working on the project with Chrysler. But they get personal satisfaction, he says. "They get to have a voice. They'll be able to influence positive change."

Personally, the Ad Team would rather have a Dodge Viper.

Gratuitous advice.

A new marketing campaign encourages Las Vegas gamblers to drop even more dough — tipping dealers.

Local 721 of the Gaming Division of the Transport Workers Union, which represents dealers at casinos such as Wynn Las Vegas and Caesars Palace, launched online ads to remind players to tip the folks on the other side of the table. "Most dealers make just above minimum wage," says James Little, TWU international president. "They rely on tips for the bulk of their income."

Videos at show dealers dispensing gambling advice — such as whether to stand on certain blackjack hands — and end with the tag: "Here's the best tip of all: Always tip your dealer."

How much? "I don't think there's a set number," Little says, but adds players should pay up even when they lose. "I've had some lousy cab rides in New York City, but I still tip the cabby. It's a service (business)."

Replacing Moss.

Actor Ashton Kutcher has another listing for his growing résumé: His handsome mug will replace supermodel Kate Moss in TV ads starting Tuesday for Nikon's Coolpix digital camera. Kutcher also guest-starred last week on the new ABC sitcom Miss Guided, a show for which he also has executive producer credit. The actor/producer/endorser/husband of Demi Moore played a hunky substitute teacher in the show about a high school guidance counselor.

Bottled up.

A mere 99 bottles of beer on the wall wasn't enough for Denmark brewer Carlsberg. Instead, it attached hundreds of bottles to billboards (the total is secret because it's running a guessing contest) in Brussels and Antwerp, Belgium.

The bottles spell out "Carlsberg" in script and promote the brand's new lean, green bottle embossed with the Carlsberg logo. The bottle will show up in coolers in the USA this summer.

"All these (competitor) bottles were getting sexier than ours," says Matthieu DeWinter, account director for Carlsberg ad agency Duval Guillaume, citing bottles such as Heineken and Corona.

To showcase the new design in Belgium, the empty bottles were attached to a plastic form on the billboard with metal thread — because more than "one of those bottles happened to fall" using glue. "We did a test with the bottles and … the glue melted under the lights," DeWinter says.

Split personality.

What has 200 or fewer calories, costs $3.49 or less and comes in 14 varieties? It's the new Portions line of better-for-you dishes created by Au Bon Pain executive chef Thomas John. Among choices: hummus and cucumbers; apples, blue cheese and cranberries; asparagus and almonds.

The Ad Team actually is more tempted by two other menu additions: the asiago cheese bagel, now topped with prosciutto and an egg, or the mysterious "bacon and cheese mini loaf."

Maybe we'll have Portions for dessert.

By Laura Petrecca, Theresa Howard and Bruce Horovitz


Q: What is printed at the end of each episode ofThe Big Bang Theory? It appears a page long and is on screen for a very short time.

— Marian Nunez, Gamerco, N.M.

A: The close of a TV show often includes a two- to three-second promo called a "vanity card" — a logo or other image, often audio and sometimes fun. The ones you describe are for the show's production company, Chuck Lorre Productions, which also produces Two and a Half Men. The text is usually about what's on Chuck Lorre's mind. "There's no prescription for it. It's whatever seems to come up," Lorre says. "It's the one area of writing I can do that has no limits unless CBS says it's unacceptable."

The cards started with Dharma & Greg, and he's up to nearly 200. All are posted at For example, in No. 191, which was written at 6 a.m. on Oct. 18, his 55th birthday, he laments middle age.

"I love the fact that people bother to read them," he says. "It's taken on a life of its own. I feel like it's an obligation. I have these loyal readers, and I don't want to disappoint them."

Have you tried mineral makeup? Tell us what you thought about the products.