"Live Clear," the global mega-brand's new tagline, reflects SK-II's core approach to skin care: as your skin improves, your outlook and life will improve, too. "We want to help women -- firstly, through seemingly little skin transformations -- to effect a much more powerful change in their lives and the lives of those they touch," said Joanne Crewes, Vice President and General Manager, Global SK-II at a press conference in Beijing on Monday. "We want to help women achieve a life filled with optimism and clarity."
Inspired by SK-II brand ambassador Cate Blanchett's donation of 3 million liters of clean water to communities in need in honor of the skin care line's 30th anniversary in January, SK-II's new "Clear for Life" project pledges to supply 30 million liters of clean water to communities across Asia. The program will be carried out by the Children's Safe Drinking Water program, the focal philanthropic initiative of SK-II's parent company P&G, and various organizations across Asia.
The statistics surrounding the global water crisis are startling; one in six people around the world live without regular access to safe drinking water, according to Dr. Stephen Luby of the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research in Bangladesh and an expert on the global water crisis. The World Health Organization estimates that 3.5 million people die annually from unsafe drinking water -- that's about 9000 people a day.
Women are at the heart of this crisis, as they are the primary gatherers of water for their families. Many women in disadvantaged communities around the world wake at dawn to gather the cleanest water they can find, walking an average of 3.7 miles. Then they must gather firewood used to boil that water so that it is safe for consumption.
If you haven't heard of SK-II, it is because the line's most devoted customers live in Asia, where women put significant amounts of time and money into their skin care routine. (SK-II brings in about $1 billion a year globally with the most popular product, Facial Treatment Essence, going for $155). SK-II products were unveiled in the U.S. six years ago, with a larger marketing campaign planned for 2011.
The product at the heart of the line is Facial Treatment Essence, made of 90% Pitera. Pitera, a balance of vitamins, amino acids, minerals and organic acids, was discovered over 30 years ago in a sake brewery in Japan when a visiting scientist noticed that while the elderly employees had wrinkled faces, their hands were soft and smooth. The crystal clear liquid, naturally derived from the yeast fermentation process, stimulates skin renewal and enhances hydration.
Blanchett, who has been using SK-II products for over nine years, was present at Monday's press conference, her skin looking luminous with simple make-up highlighted by a burgandy draped dress. "My relationship with my skin has been fraught,' she admitted to the audience.
Of using the high-end line she said, "My routine is so simple ... it's something I'll use for the rest of my life."