Vertis Moves Cosmetics Sampling Inserts Beyond Fragrance

While a new sampling product from Vertis has expanded the types of cosmetics that can be included in inserts, the firm also hopes to broaden the scope of where the samples are inserted.

Vertis' Scent-Sational Cosmetic Label launched April 4 after about a year in development. The firm's cosmetics sampling previously was limited to fragrance through its fragrance strip product, which is a micro-encapsulation of the fragrance oil, said Diane Crecca, vice president of fragrance sales and development at Vertis, Baltimore.

“The new product is a cosmetic label that allows us to enclose other types of products that our clients would like to sell to their customers so that they can try one dose at home,” she said. “Cosmetic companies come out with all kinds of treatment products and sun products, especially because of the ozone layer being so thin, and now they can let consumers try them out.”

The product costs more than the fragrance strip but it opens sampling opportunities for different kinds of cosmetics such as lotions, foundations, sunscreens and other skin-treatment products.

“It's a bit more expensive because of the nature of the product,” Crecca said. “We have a lot of different issues that we have to deal with. For instance, it has to be an immaculately clean environment when the labels are injected because the product will be applied to the skin. There is also more material involved.”

The price varies by the shape, size, quantity, product and number of colors on the label. Clients all have specific branding and need the samples to reflect those brands, she added.

Crecca said a Vertis competitor offers a similar product but that it doesn't hold as much of the sample and costs more.

Vertis also offers a version of the label that holds a fragrance suspended in a gel.

“If you want the consumer to experience the fragrance truer to its natural form, which is in alcohol, then you would choose this gel label because it is a suspension with some alcohol that can be wiped onto the skin,” she said.

The biggest advantage of sampling, Crecca said, is it increases consumer recall of the brand and product. Vertis' testing shows that samples raise awareness at least 50 percent to 75 percent, she said.

“If you see the label in a magazine, you can simply pull back the label and try one full dose of the product before you go into the store and buy it,” she said. “For us, the best compliment we can get is when our clients tell us that consumers come up to the cosmetic counter with the sample in hand and say, 'I want this.' “

Vertis also can do promotions with a coupon or special offer code to track response to the samples.

Though testing of the cosmetics labels has begun, Crecca would not divulge client or product names.

“More of our European clients are looking at it right now,” she said. “They don't like fragrance strips to begin with because they feel they are not upscale enough.”

Though most consumers are used to scent strips in magazines, Vertis hopes to broaden the use of the labels to other insert media such as newspaper freestanding inserts, catalog bind-ins and package inserts.

“Usually they don't include samples in some of these places, but we're hoping to change that,” Crecca said.

A unique place you might see samples is on the back of airline ticket jackets, she said, as some European cosmetics firms have begun testing this distribution method. Ticket jackets would be a prime place to offer hand sanitizer or moisturizer samples.

“In the States they are a bit more strict, but there is one company that prints the ticket jackets and sells advertising,” Crecca said.

The amount of product in the label would not be an issue in terms of airport security, she said.

Kristen Bremner covers list news, insert media, privacy and fundraising for DM News and To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting

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