Well, there’s a lot to tell this week! Let’s start with the surprise news that Boots has bought Liz Earle. In business terms, the brand had only just been bought by Avon (2010) who had underestimated just how essential the person Liz Earle was to the brand. Without a meaningful figurehead, it just didn’t flourish in the way that Avon had anticipated.. women (mainly) who had bought into the Liz-ness of Liz Earle lost their emotional connection to the brand. It’s really where a lot of brands come unstuck – this emotional connection, that is so essential to every brand, and what keeps their customers loyal and engaged, is meaningless at the finance and boardroom end of things.
The Coty acquisition of P&G brands is finally done – with Coty acquiring 43 of P&G’s brands. As you can imagine, it’s a complex financial structure and it has literally doubled the size of Coty overnight. I don’t think we’ll know for some time how this will shape up for consumers; for now, I’m thinking about the internal structures because, just like when Coty acquired Bourjois, there will be heavy streamlining and inevitable job losses.
This is a very interesting one, and I think I little unfair to Olay (owned by P&G) but the brand has been fined $850K in a legal quirk of Californian law. It’s called the ‘slack fill’ law and the term applies when a brand implies, via packaging, that there is more product inside than there really is. The upshot is that Olay now has to change its entire packaging across the line, so the $850K is the tip of the iceberg in terms of costs. Now, the reason that I say it’s a little unfair on Olay is that they are by no means the only ones doing this – they just happen to be the ones to be made an example of and it’s such common practice; of course it’s better for the consumer if packaging doesn’t mislead but I can think of many, many brands, including my beloved Sarah Chapman, that imply via their packaging that there is more product than there really is inside. Shu Uemura blush pots, Lancome blush pots – in fact creme blush is a good example. The pot looks big, but the product fills a fraction of it. There are literally thousands of slack fill examples.. feel free to add your own in comments! I’m definitely going to do a post on this in the next week or so.
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