Ahead of a wider launch throughout ASEAN, Kanebo Cosmetics (Kao Group) is introducing its Freeplus brand in Thailand in September 2019. The Tokyo-headquartered cosmetics firm intends to build on the success story of Freeplus in Greater China.
Launched in Japan in 2001, after many years of research on the workings of sensitive skin, Freeplus was first proposed outside its home country in 2005, when it was introduced in China. In 2015, the facial cleanser Freeplus Mild Soap became a hit seller in China as a product of choice for Chinese women concerned about sensitive skin.
Kanebo Cosmetics stepped up its global marketing strategy for Freeplus in 2017, selecting the Taiwanese actress-singer Hebe Tian as the image model for the brand throughout Greater China. A new brand message, “Thank you, sensitivity,” was introduced to project a positive image for sensitive skin. Overseas sales now account for more than 80% of the Freeplus’ total sales.
According to Kanebo, the launch of Freeplus in Thailand is the next step in the brand globalization. About 19 SKUs, including facial cleansers, lotions and creams will be available mainly at Japanese-run drugstores, a rapidly expanding retail segment in Thailand where Japanese cosmetics have a good reputation. Exclusive Freeplus counters will be installed in sales areas for sensitive skins and the products will also be available online. The products will priced from 530 to 1,290 THB.
Mei Nagano, the image model featured in the Japan market, will also appear in key visuals to promote the brand in Thailand and there are plans for large-scale product sampling campaigns and brand information promotion through influential channels.
The brand debut in Thailand will be followed by sales launch in Myanmar in October. After Myanmar, the brand territory will be gradually expanded throughout the whole of ASEAN as part of the company’s ongoing strategy to accelerate business in Asia.