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Unilever and CVS Pharmacy Campaign Bridges Beauty Care, Health Care and Self-Care, Increasing Sales and Educating Consumers

November 17, 2016

Collaboration, innovation and research drive results 


COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., Nov. 17, 2016 – Global Market Development Center’s (GMDC) latest Health & Wellness Best Practices whitepaper, “Retail Partnering to Serve the Beauty Shopper,” explores how the Unilever and CVS Pharmacy companies connected beauty care, health care and self-care in the skin care aisle – reinforcing the rapidly changing trends in the marketplace. Engaged consumers, strong sales and distinguished recognition were the results of the pioneering campaign.

In 2014, having realized their goals and values were aligned, Unilever and CVS Pharmacy started a journey to create a platform that combined skin care brands and skin health consumer education.

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.

Both companies recognized the opportunity that was set before them – according to the GMDC/Nielsen HBW Hierarchy, beauty sales across all outlets totaled $16.52 billion, an increase of 1.5 percent year-over-year while it’s projected that the beauty industry will grow through 2020 at an annual rate of two to three percent.

“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 GMDC’s President/CEO Patrick Spear. “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.” 

 “For a manufacturer to take on the role of content provider and invest dollars in creating brand-agnostic health information, and then making it available to a retailer who provides that content to the shopper is very exciting, I think,” said Andrea McGovern Galo, the manager of skin shopper marketing, drug channel at Unilever. 

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. 

“What emerged from the survey is that there are two distinct groups who shop skin care at CVS Pharmacy,” said McGovern Galo. “One is very involved in the category, uses very advanced regimens and is willing to try the latest products, including high-end items. At the other end of the spectrum is a group who uses a limited regimen and much more basic products.”

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.  

Access the white paper here: