NEW YORK — Garnier Fructis has revved up its marketing efforts to reach young men by recruiting NASCAR driver Brian Vickers, making L’Oréal USA the latest beauty company to align itself with the racing sport.
Garnier Fructis and Vickers’ racing team, Hendrick Motorsports, inked a multiyear deal in which the hair care brand will be a major associate sponsor of the No. 25 Chevrolet cars driven by Vickers in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series.
As part of the agreement, Vickers and the No. 25 car will be outfitted with Garnier’s trademark neon green color in two races this year, namely at the Texas Motor Speedway on April 17 and at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Aug. 7. Vickers, 22, will serve as spokesman for Garnier Fructis hair products and will appear in print advertising, on point-of-purchase materials and on in-store displays.
“NASCAR has enormous, universal appeal,” said Karen Fondu, president of Maybelline New York-Garnier. “Like Garnier Fructis, NASCAR is dynamic, spirited and all about high performance,” she added.
While Hendrick Motorsports team owner Rick Hendrick acknowledged that hair care was an unconventional and unexpected sponsorship category for NASCAR, he said the Garnier Fructis partnership was a positive for the sport.
Vickers, who started racing go-carts at the age of 10, commented, “It’s great to represent such a cool, fun brand.”
Garnier Fructis — L’Oréal USA’s largest launch in history — entered the U.S. market in 2003, and now ranks among the top five hair care brands in the mass market.
The move follows similar deals by beauty companies announced last year. Elizabeth Arden signed Jeff Gordon for its Halston Z-14 scent, and Avon Products nabbed upcoming NASCAR star Kasey Kane as the spokesman for Avon’s Pro Sport Daily Performance men’s fragrance and grooming line. — Molly Prior
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