According to a recent story in WWD, the targeted anti-aging branch of the popular drugstore skin-care brand has not picked up as strong a following as anticipated in the year it has been on the market, despite studies showing that Pro-X products out-test prescription alternatives like retinol.
The story suggests that Olay Pro-X's $42 to $62 price range may have made it difficult to sell in drugstores, where beauty clientele have reached for bargain options in difficult economic times.
However, according to Olay, the line is doing well and has met its sales goals for the year, and the decision to create an infomercial is a creative way for the brand to reach new customers and further educate them on the deep science behind the products.
"Consumers are information seekers and want to understand the science and technology. That led to this idea... which is the best of both worlds. We will be able to reach new consumers... but when she wants to go back and purchase it, she can -- in the mass market," marketing director Chris Heiert told WWD.
Olay execs hope that some of the magic of beauty infomercials will rub off, with televised spots credited for turning brands like bareMinerals and Proactiv into multimillion-dollar megastars. In fact, beauty topics rank the third highest of the 250,000 to 260,000 infomercials shown each month, right behind health and household gadgets.
But you don't have to be a cosmetics giant to benefit from infomercials.
Who can forget Nad's, the goopy green hair remover an Australian mum mixed up, which debuted in infomercials in 1998 to thunderous success? Or the Hairdini, a plastic hair contraption that promised perfect ponies and updos -- it landed founding small-town hairstylist Denie Schach an "Oprah" appearance.
And who hasn't wondered if those facial-flex tools really do work to tighten up sagging jowls and necks? Over one million people have; that is, they've been curious enough to actually purchase the product.
The Olay infomercial will focus more on science rather than gimmick, with celeb host Lara Spencer interviewing scientists who worked on the products, presenting clinical testing data from the British Journal of Dermatology, and showing the requisite before-and-after shots that infomercial success is built upon.
The spots began airing on cable networks across the country April 29 and will continue through July.
Will Olay become the next big infomercial success? Only time will tell.
Meanwhile, read Consumer Reports's ratings on which wrinkle serums really work.