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Shiseido Co.'s Tsubaki shampoo and conditioner became best-sellers

Just one month after its release in late March, Shiseido Co.'s Tsubaki shampoo and conditioner became best-sellers and saw the cosmetics firm jump to No. 1 in the shampoo market.

The shampoo market has been viewed as conservative, but the emergence of the Tsubaki line of products has shaken it up.

The market has long been dominated by three makers--Kao Corp. with Asience; Unilever Japan with Lux, and Procter and Gamble Co. with Pantene.

But in the month it was launched, sales of Tsubaki exceeded expectations, reaching 4 billion yen--40 percent of its annual sales target.

Shiseido said market share according to brands between April 10 and April 16--the fourth week after Tsubaki's launch--showed the product topped sales with 12 percent, followed by Lux Super Rich Shine, Asience and Pantene.

Thanks to Tsubaki, Shiseido's market share also jumped from about 10-15 percent to 23 percent, taking it from fourth spot to first.

Tsubaki is the fourth product launched as part of Shiseido's latest marketing strategy that involves having fewer brands and focusing on becoming a market leader in each field.

Shiseido used the name of its logo, hanatsubaki (camellia blossom), for the name of the brand.

Shiseido has earmarked a company record 5 billion yen for advertising. Television commercials for the product highlight the beauty of Japanese women and feature six popular Japanese actresses, including Yukie Nakama and Yuko Takeuchi.

But clever advertising is not the only key to Shiseido's success--before Tsubaki's release, rival Kao promoted its Asience brand with a similar Asian beauty pitch.

Tsubaki's success has shown that keeping up with trends and employing intensive advertising can bring success in an already saturated shampoo market.