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The Success Story Of A Proudly South African Brand

Just as Essays Of Africa magazine highlights a woman’s journey, so too does Bio-Oil show what it takes to stay on the path to success. Since its global launch in 2002, Bio-Oil has won 349 skincare awards and has become the No.1 selling scar and stretch mark product in 24 countries, including South Africa. One of the world’s fastest growing skincare products, it is now available in 125 countries across five continents.

From 1987 …

After many years of researching and developing a specialist skincare product to help relieve his persistent dry skin condition, Dieter Beier, a German chemist living in South Africa, was finally ready to launch his oil-based skincare solution. The year was 1987 and the product was Bio-Oil. Beier’s concept for the Bio‑Oil formulation was to take vitamins and plant extracts and suspend them in an oxygen-free oil base. This created an oxygen-free environment for the active ingredients that would keep their potency intact indefinitely.

The challenge was to create oil that was light and non-greasy, so that it could be easily absorbed into the skin. The breakthrough came with the inclusion of PurCellin Oil™, a unique ingredient that changed the formulation’s overall consistency, reduced the thickness of Bio-Oil and ensured optimal absorption of its key ingredients: vitamins A and E, and calendula, lavender, rosemary and chamomile oils. Despite Beier’s breakthrough, Bio-Oil sat quietly on the shelves of South African retailers for 13 years. When brothers Justin and David Letschert bought Union Swiss (Beiers’ company) in 2000, they sold off all the products bar the one they believed to have potential – Bio-Oil.

Perhaps because it is a single product and not a range, Bio-Oil has always felt like a little brand; a brand people feel they can talk to and share with. And on handing over the reins to Justin and David, Beier also handed them a shoebox of treasured letters he received from satisfied Bio-Oil customers.

“I used Bio-Oil and I actually have no stretch marks.”

Upon reading/hearing these testimonials, the brothers discovered that Bio-Oil was not just a dry skin product. In fact, most of the users were describing the success they were having in treating their scars, stretch marks and uneven skin tone. The Letschert brothers retained Bio-Oil’s original formulation, but they updated the packaging to better reflect its problem-solution positioning and they changed Bio-Oil’s communication strategy. The lifeblood of Bio-Oil advertising would be the testimonials of its users, which proved to be a wise marketing strategy. Within five years Bio-Oil was the No.1 selling scar and stretch mark product in South Africa and the confident brothers rolled out the brand globally with 2002 UK launch, followed by Australia in 2003 and then New Zealand, Japan, Canada, the U.S.A and the Netherlands.

To 2017 …

In the 17 years since the last packaging facelift, Bio-Oil is now available in 125 countries; it is recommended by doctors the world over, and loved and respected by millions of loyal users. It has moved from simply being a product to being a brand that to many people stands for integrity, professionalism and researched efficacy.

Source: Bio-Oil. Image: iStock

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