PARIS – Fujifilm is adapting to market realities by releasing its line of beauty products in France next month. The brand, called Astalift, will make its way into select French boutiques this March. This is the first step for the Japanese company in a European market.
Digital photography has revolutionized the camera and film industry, forcing companies to face the reality of falling film sales. Kodak has long been a forerunner, but with stocks dropping and layoffs rising, the company has filed for bankruptcy and may soon be pushed out of the picture. Fujifilm, reports The Economist, has adapted much better to falling film sales by diversifying its market with beauty products.
In January, an article in the magazine details how Kodak failed to tread water while Japanese-based Fujifilm succeeded. “Surprisingly, Kodak acted like a stereotypical change-resistant Japanese firm, while Fujifilm acted like a flexible American one,” the magazine reported.
The move into cosmetics may seem odd, but the company is marketing the brand carefully. With researchers experimenting with antioxidants and chemicals aimed at brightening the skin, Fujifilm is launching a campaign to emphasize light as both an essential quality for photography and beauty. The company has invested in cosmetic and other health-related laboratories over the last decade. The Economist reports that out of the 200,000 chemicals in Fujifilm’s catalog, 4,000 are antioxidants that could be used for cosmetic purposes.
The Astalift brand was first launched in Japan in 2007, targeting 35-50 year-old women with anti-aging products. And in case Europeans are hesitant about purchasing cosmetics from a film company, spokeswoman Naomi Watts will reassure them as the ambassador to all European markets.
According to General Director of Fujifilm Europe Junji Okada, the company is confident that their technology and marketing experience will help Fujifilm succeed in a new sector. “To enter the cosmetic market is, for us, an opportunity to stretch out our influence and our activity in Europe,” he said. The move into France will be the first step of a continued European campaign that hopes to take hold in Spain, the UK, and Germany by the end of 2012.