Cover Girl Gets Cru­elty-Free Cer­ti­fied

The brand has achieved Leap­ing Bunny cer­ti­fi­ca­tion as part of a new long-term part­ner­ship be­tween Coty Inc. and Cru­elty-Free In­ter­na­tional.

WWD Digital Daily - - News - BY ELLEN THOMAS

Cover Girl is go­ing cru­elty-free.

The Coty Inc.-owned brand has achieved Leap­ing Bunny cer­ti­fi­ca­tion by Cru­elty Free In­ter­na­tional, which aims to end an­i­mal test­ing for cos­met­ics. The cer­ti­fi­ca­tion is the first step in a larger, long-term part­ner­ship be­tween the an­i­mal pro­tec­tion and ad­vo­cacy group and Coty, which has com­mit­ted to ob­tain­ing Leap­ing Bunny cer­ti­fi­ca­tion on at least one other Coty brand by 2020.

It’s the lat­est move by a big beauty com­pany to sup­port ef­forts to end an­i­mal test­ing. In Oc­to­ber, Unilever an­nounced its part­ner­ship with Hu­mane So­ci­ety In­ter­na­tional, and cru­elty-free ac­cred­i­ta­tion for its Dove brand from PETA. Also last month, Natura-owned The Body Shop de­liv­ered a pe­ti­tion against an­i­mal test­ing to the United Na­tions, as part of For­ever Against An­i­mal Test­ing, its part­ner­ship with Cru­elty-Free In­ter­na­tional.

In the U.S., con­sumer de­mand for cru­elty-free beauty prod­ucts is on the rise — sales of cru­elty-free brands in the pres­tige mar­ket jumped 27 per­cent from 2017 to 2018, ac­cord­ing to the NPD Group.

Cru­elty-free brands are less preva­lent in the mass mar­ket. Amongst tra­di­tional drug­store makeup brands, only Mark wins-owned Wet ‘n’ Wild has achieved PETA’s cru­elty-free cer­ti­fi­ca­tion. Sales-wise, Cover Girl is the big­gest brand to achieve Leap­ing Bunny cer­ti­fi­ca­tion.

“As a big beauty com­pany, we wanted to show that our brands can em­brace this cause,” said Lau­rent Kleit­man, pres­i­dent of con­sumer beauty at Coty, who noted that Cover Girl was a cru­elty-free brand be­fore ob­tain­ing Leap­ing Bunny sta­tus, but wanted to get cer­ti­fied to send a more overt mes­sage to con­sumers. “Part­ner­ing with Cru­elty Free In­ter­na­tional means our in­ter­nal stan­dards have been re­viewed, we’ve es­tab­lished new pro­to­cols with sup­pli­ers, un­der­gone rig­or­ous au­dits on sup­ply chain ma­te­ri­als, and we’ve agreed to be re­viewed reg­u­larly — this is demon­strat­ing a to­tal com­mit­ment.”

Cover Girl is go­ing cru­elty-free at a time when con­sumers are look­ing to align brands with their val­ues, par­tic­u­larly younger con­sumers. It is one of the first in the mass mar­ket to at­tain of­fi­cial cer­ti­fi­ca­tion sta­tus.

“Con­sumers want brands with a cause, brands that are think­ing be­yond the com­mer­cial re­la­tion­ship, and that’s what we’re do­ing here,” Kleit­man said. “By be­ing the big­gest mass brand [to be­come cru­elty-free], we’re demon­strat­ing that this isn’t [ just] for niche, ex­pen­sive brands… it’s be­com­ing af­ford­able and ac­ces­si­ble to the large ma­jor­ity of con­sumers.”

Like the ma­jor­ity of trends presently shap­ing the beauty in­dus­try, Mil­len­ni­als and Gen Z have been a key part in the swell of in­ter­est in end­ing an­i­mal test­ing, but Kleit­man noted that cru­el­tyfree cos­met­ics have a wide ap­peal.

“It’s broader than that — this is a cause that is go­ing through gen­er­a­tions and age groups. You’ll find a bias on young con­sumers be­cause of the aware­ness we see on so­cial me­dia, but def­i­nitely this is much broader, and it’s why you see the in­dus­try mov­ing that way.”

Kleit­man stressed the long-term na­ture of the Cru­elty-Free part­ner­ship, and em­pha­sized that Coty is work­ing to cer­tify at least one more brand in its port­fo­lio by 2020.

For Cover Girl, Leap­ing Bunny cer­ti­fi­ca­tion is the lat­est step in a to­tal re­vamp the brand in­tro­duced last year, en­com­pass­ing ev­ery­thing from pack­ag­ing, faster, more in­clu­sive and trend-driven prod­uct roll­out and a new tag line, “I am What I Makeup,” de­signed to ap­peal to to­day’s younger beauty shop­pers.

“We have a lot of con­sumer re­quests ask­ing if we’re cru­elty-free or not,” said Ukonwa Ojo, global chief mar­ket­ing of­fi­cer of Cover Girl and Sally Hansen. “Con­sumers now [can] have the com­plete piece of mind that we share their val­ues fully, and we have cer­ti­fi­ca­tion that val­i­dates that.”

To­day, Cover Girl will un­veil a siz­able mar­ket­ing cam­paign across dig­i­tal, print and so­cial me­dia. Outer prod­uct pack­ag­ing has been up­dated to in­clude the Leap­ing Bunny cer­ti­fi­ca­tion seal.

Cover Girl has strug­gled to re­turn to growth af­ter it was di­vested from Proc­ter & Gam­ble to Coty in 2016, and de­spite the launch of its new mar­ket­ing cam­paign last year and new prod­uct roll­out in Jan­uary. Cover Girl sales were down 7 per­cent in the last four weeks end­ing Oct. 6, ver­sus a de­cline of 16 per­cent at that time last year, ac­cord­ing to Nielsen. Go­ing cru­elty-free in a mar­ket with few op­tions could cer­tainly help give the brand a needed edge.

“No­body should have to choose to pay more than they need to get prod­ucts that align with their val­ues,” Ojo said. “There are [many] brands cer­ti­fied in the mass mar­ket, and now [con­sumers] can get [cru­elty-free makeup] in mass.”

Achiev­ing Leap­ing Bunny cer­ti­fi­ca­tion in­volved sig­nif­i­cant lo­gis­ti­cal work for Coty, which ded­i­cated a team to the en­deavor, un­der chief sci­en­tific of­fi­cer Daniel Ramos. “The amount of in­no­va­tion that goes through a mass makeup brand like Cover Girl is huge.… We had to make sure that ev­ery­thing [and] ev­ery­thing go­ing for­ward, ev­ery new in­no­va­tion that comes through Cover Girl. We have to make sure that ev­ery new ma­te­rial meets CFI re­quire­ments,” Ramos said. “The sec­ond part of the process is that we have to demon­strate that we have a sys­tem in place to main­tain it — achiev­ing cer­ti­fi­ca­tion only gets you in the door.”

Cover Girl prod­ucts are now Leap­ing Bunny cer­ti­fied.

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