Revlon partners with US soap to <BR>sell more lipstick

NEW YORK - It may be a step down from the sophistication of supermodels such as Cindy Crawford, but Revlon's latest strategy to get women to buy its lipsticks gives it a starring role on the long-running US daytime soap 'All My Children'.

The cosmetics giant is set to feature in a three-month storyline on the show, in return for spending millions of dollars in advertising on the ABC network.

Despite parting with big bucks, Revlon will not have the plot run all its own way, as it hits competition with a fictional cosmetics company run by one of the show's most popular characters, Erica Kane.

According to reports, the storyline will feature Revlon trying to poach one of Erica's top employees, with Erica retaliating by sending her daughter to spy on her rival.

Revlon has been through a series of advertising changes this year, as it seeks to recapture its declining market share. It has switched strategies, firstly moving away from and then returning to celebrity endorsement. It also fired its agency, Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners, after only 11 months on the account and only two weeks after the launch of a new campaign. It subsequently appointed Interpublic-owned Deutsche to the account.

Lest the move come in for criticism about the commercial world infringing on art, the producers of 'All My Children' said that the idea to include Revlon in a plot came from writers, and was then presented to Revlon.

Input from sponsors into the content of television shows was common in the early days of the medium. It is returning to popularity as advertisers seek to find new ways of winning the attention of audiences which are already bombarded with brand promotions.

The long-running soap 'All My Children' runs on the ABC network, and is one of the most-watched soaps on US television.

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