PR Success Stories: Merlot Skincare Products Saved by Local TV News Coverage
Serial innovator and entrepreneur Wayne Beckley had stumbled across what he felt was a revolutionary take on a cosmetic skin product: grape seed-based moisturisers. Research suggested that the antioxidants present within grape seeds are 50 times more powerful than vitamin E and 25 times more powerful than vitamin C in protecting and rejuvenating skin. Aptly named Merlot and marketed as a cutting-edge solution to the aging process, Beckley’s science-backed product had him optimistic about his chances of success. Initial results, however, would prove disappointing. Despite the favorable research, no one was purchasing Merlot Skincare Products and, to his disbelief, Beckley began to receive phone calls from store managers asking him to remove his “unsellable product” from store shelves.
Merlot’s chance at redemption would come as a result of an objective third party – one feature story aired on local television – that introduced Beckley’s products to the public. Within days, local drug stores would be swarmed by customers requesting this “new,” revolutionary approach to fighting the aging process – the same product that had been collecting dust weeks ago. Thanks to the power and influence of news media, Wayne Beckley would go from being dangerously close to going out of business to approaching close to $11 million in sales in 2011.
A company that at one point almost seemed certain to end in failure, Merlot has no doubt garnered an appreciation for the role that effective earned news coverage plays in a successful new-product launch. Additional coverage has included CNBC, “Today” with Kathie Lee and Hoda and Happi Magazine, to name a few. Now with a line of 20 products and carried by 7,600 drugstores across the U.S., Beckley’s story of success continues unabated, with plans to introduce Merlot products into Mexican and South American markets.