Le Petit Marseillais arrives stateside

French beauty and personal care brand Le Petit Marseillais is sailing across the Atlantic to reach America. The brand, owned by US group Johnson & Johnson since 2006, is set to enter the U.S., focusing on big box retailers and drug store chains.



Le Petit Marseillais has set sail for America. - Le Petit Marseillais/Facebook

The brand is available on Amazon and now also on the shelves at CVS, Target, Jet and Ulta stores. In March it will be distributed by U.S. retailing giant Walmart.

Le Petit Marseillais claims to be France's preferred personal care and beauty brand, ahead of Nivea and Ultra Doux, and is launching in the USA with jumbo-size products, for example 650 ml [22 oz] family bath gels. "We decided to introduce our leading products first, those that best represent our brand," said Chris Riat, Marketing Director at Johnson & Johnson. The U.S. line will not feature the brand's latest products, such as the Les Ptit's Bonheurs collection launched in 2016. It consists instead of Le Petit Marseillais' core products and scents, such as orange blossom, peach, vanilla, or the lavender-honey blend. Body care products, soap bars and liquid hand soaps make up the rest of the America-bound line.


The jumbo shower gels launched in the USA in 2017 - Le Petit Marseillais

For the time being the products are manufactured in Europe and exported to the United States. Their advertising strategy has a strong digital bias, allowing the brand to flaunt its Mediterranean roots and making an amusing play with the pronunciation of the word ‘Le Petit Marseillais’, or 'Leuh Peh-tee Mar-say-yay'. One of the videos featuring the Marseilles mariner sailing across the Atlantic has notched up more than 700,000 views.

The brand also features a U.S.-dedicated website and Facebook page, focused on its history and leadership of the French market. According to Nielsen figures, Le Petit Marseillais has a 17% market share in France in the shower gel segments in mass-market distribution.

The U.S. is not the only port of call for Le Petit Marseillais. It has also set its sights on South America and Asia. The brand is Johnson & Johnson's best-selling label in Europe. Besides France, where its 2016 revenue was nearly €120 million, it is sold also in Belgium, Switzerland, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece and Russia.

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