Skin MD Natural, developed by 21st Century Formulations, is a new product in a new category of skin care dubbed "shielding lotion.
"It differs from other lotions because it forms with the outer layers of skin to keep moisture-robbing irritants out. It also contains a humectant that is six times more effective than glycerin. The company teamed up with Expansion Plus, which specializes in Internet marketing and PR, to launch a campaign aimed at raising awareness and educating people about shielding lotions and how they work.
The entire launch involved online PR only. "The first [goal] was to dominate the results for shielding lotions," says Dan Mueller, operations officer at 21st Century Formulations. The aim was to get consumer awareness to spill over to the media and generate requests from brick-and-mortar stores to support the product's hard launch in fall.
The team developed a content strategy to dominate main keywords people use to find solutions for certain skin conditions. Weekly shielding lotion articles were published and syndicated in an RSS feed on the site, and sent out via PR wire services. "We've always known syndication is good," says Sally Falkow, Expansion Plus principal. "On the net, we're not [only] paid for content. We're [also] paid [for] traffic."
The term "shielding lotion" is now searched more than "cellulite lotion" and nearly as much as "hand lotion," Mueller says, and nine out of 10 Google search results lead to Skin MD. "I was quite impressed with [being] in the same range as products that took years to sell their concepts to the consuming public," he adds. Web site traffic increased from 300 unique visitors in November to more than 2,000, and Mueller says sales are increasing weekly.
The focus is now on reaching skin experts and dermatologists. Efforts will expand to include offline media relations as it extends into the hard launch.
PR team: 21st Century Formulations and Expansion Plus (both Los Angeles)
Campaign: Introduce Shielding Lotion
Duration: September 2005 - ongoing