Business Case Studies, Brands & Branding and Private Labels Case Study, Revlon's Revolving Fortunes: Resolving the 'Core' Brand Challenges

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Brands & Branding and Private Labels Case Study

Case Title:

Revlon's Revolving Fortunes: Resolving the 'Core' Brand Challenges

Publication Year : 2009

Authors: Deepti Srikanth, Priti Krishnan

Industry: Home Appliances and Personal Care Products


Case Code: BBP0107

Teaching Note: Available

Structured Assignment: Available

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This case study, while providing a landscape of the cosmetics industry, offers scope to discuss the factors that enabled Revlon in becoming a global brand and why in spite of being such a renowned and popular brand, it lost out in the global cosmetics industry. It also enables to discuss the measures that the new CEO, David Kennedy, should take to rejuvenate Revlon. “In the factory we make cosmetics; in the drugstore we sell hope”, said Charles Revson, founder of Revlon. Guided by this principle, Charles had strived to promote glamour, fantasy and excitement through Revlon’s core products, nail colours and lipsticks. Despite the intense competition posed by players like L’Oreal, Estee Lauder and Procter & Gamble, Revlon emerged as a strong contender, becoming a multi-million dollar company in a short span of 6 years. However, trouble started brewing when the reigns of the company were passed on to Michel Bergerac, Charles’ handpicked successor, in 1975. With the company’s focus shifting from its core beauty business towards diversified areas like healthcare, Revlon started succumbing to its competitors. Post acquisition in 1985, the company witnessed a series of efforts to restore its lost glory. But burdened under a debt-load of $2.9billion, and with the miserable failure of Vital Radiance, its latest product launch for women above 50, the dilemmas surrounding Revlon have increased greatly.

Pedagogical Objectives:

  • To understand cosmetics industry’s dynamics – critical success factors, industry attractiveness, competitors’ analysis, etc.
  • To analyse the reasons for Revlon losing its market share inspite of being an old player with formidable brands
  • To discuss and debate the challenges facing the new CEO, David Kennedy and to explore all the possible ways and means for reviving Revlon.

Keywords : Brands, Brandings, Positioning, Cosmetics, Consumer behaviour, Revlon, P&G, L'Oreal , Advertising, Marketing


  • Revlon till 1985: The Brand Building
  • Revlon's Product Segments
  • Global Cosmetics Industry: An Outlook
  • Cosmetics Industry's Branding Strategies
  • Distribution Channels
  • World's Best Selling Makeup – 2004

  • 1985–2006: Reviving Revlon’s Lost Glory
  • Brand Dilution
    • Mounting Debt Load
    • Revlon's Changing Leaderships
  • Revlon's Increasing Troubles
  • Revlon's Consolidated Statements of Operations (2005–2006)

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