2010 Global Beauty Trends and the Olay Brand

Last week, I attended the Beauty Industry West (BIW) meeting where Nica Lewis from Mintel International presented their predictions for global beauty trends for 2010. The presentation covered brand innovations in claims and ingredients and explored trends both from a product development and consumer point of view.

One of the most interesting trend forecasts that caught my eye was the idea of “Turbo Beauty 4G” – this is the idea that beauty brands are mimicking the rate of technological change, with medical science heavily influencing the beauty business. Mintel predicts that in 2010, products will increasingly use medical- or pharma-grade actives, nanotechnology, and additional clinical testing to substantiate claims and move these products from prestige to masstige (affordable mass market products positioned as luxury). They also expect to see more “mix it yourself” in-home solutions, presented as an alternative to cosmetic surgery or chemical peels.

As I was thinking about the trends presented, a new Oil of Olay ad caught my eye this week when flipping through a magazine. It was for their Regenerist line, which as far as I can tell was launched back in 2006. The Regenerist name alone has a feeling of innovation and scientific references. With product/ingredient naming such as “DNA Superstructure SPF 25,” and messaging “You don’t want to take drastic measures like a chemical peel…”, Olay was clearly already ahead of this new 2010 trend – at least from a marketing point of view. The packaging identity also reinforces these concepts with scientific DNA structure inspired graphics and a clean, clinical look.

The company has already repositioned themselves over the past several years as one of the most celebrated masstige brands, and they clearly seem to be right on the pulse of skincare trends. Additional product lines such as Pro-X, Definity, and Total Effects also tie into the advanced, scientific, yet accessible brand positioning. They seem to also understand women’s need for simplicity and education in their product purchase and also offer and “Olay for You” section on their site that helps the user determine which Olay products are best for her. Mintel also spoke about beauty manufacturers starting to market products to “digital natives,” with the goal of educating younger women on anti-aging products. Oil of Olay is a step ahead of this trend as well, with their Olay for You iPhone app.

Although Oil of Olay is not my favorite brand from a design point of view, I can really appreciate what they have done to reposition themselves as an innovator in mass retail – both from a product development and marketing point of view. It will be interesting to see how many other masstige brands will jump on the Turbo bandwagon over the next couple of years!