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Beauty Beat: Avon's Mark Adds Sparks...

Avon's Mark beauty brand has signed singer Jordin Sparks, the winner of Fox's "American Idol" last year, as the brand's sales representatives' spokeswoman, a first for the teen-oriented brand.

Jordin Sparks

Jordin Sparks

Photo By WWD Staff

Avon's Mark beauty brand has signed singer Jordin Sparks, the winner of Fox's "American Idol" last year, as the brand's sales representatives' spokeswoman, a first for the teen-oriented brand.

Sparks represents the Mark brand's second celebrity partnership — Avon also signed Lauren Conrad of MTV's "The Hills" as Mark's spokeswoman last year.

Avon wanted to find someone who could act as an inspirational role model for the representatives, and one who also had experience selling the brand, according to Claudia Poccia, global president of Mark and strategic alliances. The company sees this initiative as an important investment in building Mark's brand equity, she added, in addition to attracting sales representatives to both the Mark and Avon brands.

There are more than 450,000 Mark and Avon sales representatives, Poccia noted.

"Jordin's accomplishments and drive make her a role model for us, since she's a young woman who started off as a rep and pursued her dream to become the youngest singer to ever win 'American Idol,'" said Poccia. "She will help motivate our girls to make their 'mark' in the world."

While Conrad will continue her role as spokeswoman for Mark's beauty and fashion initiatives, Sparks will act as "chief inspirational officer" in her new role. Sparks will appear in a nationwide representative advertising campaign targeting college campuses, which will include print and online ads. In addition, she will be featured in the brand's "magalogue," reaching more than six million consumers monthly.

Sparks was first introduced to Avon's Mark brand through her mother. Together, they signed up as sales representatives when the brand was first launched in 2003.

"My mom heard about it and thought it would be a great way to spend time together and earn a little extra money, while having fun," said Sparks.

Sparks, who admits to being a beauty junkie with enough products to open a store, said her favorite items in the Mark collection are the brand's modular Hook-Ups, which carry lip gloss, lipstick, eye shadow or mascara.

According to Poccia, Sparks will be involved in interacting with representatives firsthand through training sessions and online.
"This allows representatives to learn from her and be engaged with someone who has had the experience before, which adds greater value to the Mark experience," said Poccia. "We want to make sure she's the one giving encouragement for the brand."

— Michelle Edgar


Estée Lauder Taps EVP

Alexandra C. Trower has been named executive vice president of global communications for the Estée Lauder Cos. Inc.

Trower, who will report to William P. Lauder, the company's chief executive officer, begins her new post on April 14. She is replacing Sally Susman, who left Lauder to become senior vice president of worldwide communications and chief communications officer at Pfizer Inc. in February.

Trower, most recently senior vice president of media relations for Bank of America Corp., spent more than two decades in the financial services industry. She has served as a managing director at J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., where she oversaw corporate communications for JPMorgan Fleming Asset Management, and as vice president of corporate communications at Chancellor LGT Asset Management.

In her new role, Trower will direct Lauder's overall communications strategies, including brand, corporate, internal and consumer communications, and will work closely with Lauder's investor relations department.

"Alex brings invaluable global experience to the Estée Lauder Cos. with her broad financial, corporate and consumer background," Lauder stated. "We're confident that her proven track record will be an asset to the company and its brands."

— Julie Naughton


Symrise Names Senior Execs

PARIS — German fragrance and flavors supplier Symrise AG announced Tuesday it has created four new senior positions in a bid to bolster creativity and innovation in its scent and care division, which combines the firm's fragrances, mint flavors, cosmetic ingredients and aroma molecules businesses.

Michael Kocher has been appointed senior vice president of innovation for scent and care at the Holzminden, Germany-based firm. His role is to integrate the once separately handled areas of research and marketing plus consumer market research and to orient them toward innovation, Symrise stated. Kocher joins Symrise from competitor Firmenich, and, prior to that, he had worked for research organization the Max-Planck-Institut and consumer goods manufacturer Reckitt Benckiser.
In May, Massimo Cealti will become vice president of consumer and market intelligence. He has spent more than 20 years in market research for global companies like McDonald's, Nestlé and the Coca-Cola Co.

Meanwhile, Béatrice Favre-Bulle has been promoted to the position of senior vice president of fragrance development. Her replacement as head of evaluation, personal care, for Europe, Africa and the Middle East at Symrise has yet to be announced.

And Roberto Ascoli has become senior vice president of new business development in the scent and care division. Ascoli's previous post, as head of sales in France and director of the beauty care creative center in Paris, has been filled by Marie-Lise Jonak. She was previously head of fine fragrance sales in France at the firm.

— Ellen Groves