Game Face

1 Nov

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Napoleon Perdis. If you haven’t heard of the Greek god of make-up you must’ve been living under a stone for the past 10 years.

Back in the late 90s Napoleon was the king of teen make-up in Australia, picture garish colours and new wave glitter. Napoleon is where I went to have my make-up done for my year 11 formal. I rocked a combination of turquoise eyes and hot pink lips like only a fresh faced 17 year old can.

But at some indefinable point along the way he went from cringe worthy to cult status. 4,500 counters around the world and Napoleon himself now lives in the capital of glam, Hollywood. His luxurious home features regularly in the pages of fashion & lifestyle magazines and he even has his own reality TV show, Get Your Face On with Napoleon Perdis.

So there’s no denying it, Napoleon is now a major worldwide brand; a big Australian success story. The most interesting development for me is the launch of NP Set, a cheaper, entry level version of Napoleon.

A trio of eye shadows retails for around $20 versus $49 for the Napoleon brand. Sure the packaging is plainer and the range isn’t as big but the prices sure are better and the product innovation is still there…something Napoleon became famous for after its Autopilot face primer became a beauty best seller.

While there are similarities and some consumers will choose NP Set over Napoleon, I would suggest there are is a distinct target market for each brand that will not cannibalise the other’s share. NP targets a younger, fast fashion consumer who probably relies on a part time job or allowance to get her beauty budget.

And NP Set is available through Target, something that really opens Napoleon up to a whole new mass market. In marketing speak this is called a “diffusion line” – a range by a recognised designer, in their signature style, but designed for and sold through a high street retailer at high street prices. Target is the best in Australia at these collaborations, with Stella McCartney another huge label to design a range for Target.

Diffusion lines give access to people who would not otherwise be able to afford the brand. They work for designers as a way of growing their profile and brand awareness plus obviously providing a great income stream separate from their main line.

I can’t think of another make-up brand that has done a diffusion or a cheaper brand entry line. There are many brand families in the make-up industry, the L’Oreal Group behemoth being the first to spring to mind with Maybelline for the kids, L’Oreal for the masses and Lancôme for the older, wealthier ladies. But each of these ranges is a separate brand with different images, values and products.

Though he hasn’t as yet collaborated on a diffusion range, Giorgio Armani is a master of brand entry points. The Armani brand houses a number of sub-brands including, Armani Exchange, Emporio Armani, Armani and Armani Prive. Each of these brands targets a different consumer or occasion at a different price point, but all with a unifying Armani aesthetic.

On the other end of the spectrum is Pierre Cardin who was once at the cutting edge of 60s mod fashion. Over the years he has diluted, confused and bastardised his brand by licensing his name to the crappiest bathrobes and the tackiest luggage.

These different paths by two influential fashion sirs should serve as a warning for Mr Perdis, not that I think he needs it!

 xx PMP

To investigate your beauty, fashion or lifestyle marketing visit Proven Marketing for marketing and public relations advice specific to the beauty, fashion and lifestyle industries.

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