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Unilever/CVS Pharmacy campaign bridges beauty and health


COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — A partnership between CVS Pharmacy and Unilever is showcasing the ways in which beauty plays a key role in the health and wellness aisle.

That connection between beauty and health/wellness has provided the groundwork for these companies to collaborate on an initiative that promoted three Unilever skin care lines that are primarily beauty brands but also have strong health and wellness claims.

The outcome was Love Your Skin, a campaign that consisted of special offers available exclusively through CVS Pharmacy for different SKUs of three Unilever brands – Dove, Vaseline and Simple. The combination of product offers with non-branded content on skin care and health provided by Dr. Mona Gohara — a well-known, highly respected, board-certified dermatologist  made the campaign the first of its kind. At the time, no major manufacturers were providing comprehensive skin health information to consumers.

“The skin care category is an important business for both food and drug retailers, playing a key role in beauty care and over-the-counter health care,” said Patrick Spear, CEO of Global Market Development Center, which just published a whitepaper detailing the connection between beauty and health. “At the same time, growing numbers of consumers seek information about the ingredients and efficacy of the personal care products they use. Together, those trends encouraged a new kind of retailer-supplier partnership, one that demanded innovative departures from the tried-and-true.”

According to the GMDC/Nielsen HBW Hierarchy, beauty sales across all outlets totaled $16.52 billion, an increase of 1.5% year-over-year while it’s projected that the beauty industry will grow through 2020 at an annual rate of two to three percent.

In October, CVS Health’s VP/merchandise manager for beauty and personal care Alex Perez-Tenessa told Drug Store News that “the future of beauty is health. Every piece of customer research and category trend that we look at confirms this.”

(To download Special Report: Double Down on Health, click here.)

According to Cory Fraehsdorf, shopper marketing, drug channel at Unilever, an important factor underlying the success of Love Your Skin was the tremendous extent of customer research, which involved Kantar, a market research firm that surveyed CVS Pharmacy skin care shoppers about their attitudes toward their skin.

These insights, along with data from the CVS Pharmacy ExtraCare loyalty program, provided Unilever with consumer-based information used to create personalized, relevant offers to CVS Pharmacy skin care customers.

From the CVS Pharmacy perspective, the program’s success and the experience that led to it yielded additional wins that went beyond the numbers.

“It required a deeper understanding of our customers’ needs, an appreciation of our individual company strengths, and different ways of thinking and working together in both of our organizations to achieve our shared ambitious goals,” said Maly Bernstein, a divisional merchandise manager at CVS Pharmacy. 

To read more about how Unilever and CVS Pharmacy connected beauty care, health care and self-care in the skin care aisle, access GMDC’s latest Health & Wellness Best Practices whitepaper, “Retail Partnering to Serve the Beauty Shopper” by clicking here.


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