By  on January 21, 2005

NEW YORK — Clairol wants to touch up fading category sales by taking the risk out of at-home hair color. The Procter & Gamble division, which spent the last two years focusing squarely on color through its multimillion-dollar ad campaign, “Colorwonderful,” is now broadening its message to emphasize hair health.

Nearly 60 percent of women color their hair, and nearly half of them would dye their tresses more often if they weren’t concerned about damage, according to P&G research. Of those who steer clear of color, 30 percent cite damage as their primary reason for abstaining.

“If we can take the risk out of at-home hair color, we can grow the category,” said Charlene Sawyers, director of marketing, North America, for Clairol Retail Haircolor. In the mass channel, hair color sales slid 5 percent in 2004 to $1 billion, according to Information Resources Inc.

In an attempt to bolster sales, Clairol has revisited three brands in its portfolio — including Nice ’n Easy, Hydrience and Herbal Essences — updating each to appeal to women’s universal desire for healthy, shiny locks (without gray strands). Guiding each of these changes, explained Sawyers, is the underlying theme of “color confidence,” an internal phrase used by the Clairol team. In the company’s view, the more confidence consumers have with at-home hair color, the more they will experiment, fueling demand for Clairol products.

Beginning this March, Nice ’n Easy boxes will include ColorSeal Gloss, a weekly treatment said to retain 20 percent more color over a six-week period. The silicone-based conditioner borrows “long-lasting color technology” — a resin that attaches to the hair fiber — from Max Factor’s Lipfinity. Nice ’n Easy will remain at its current price point of $6.99.

For consumers plagued by gray roots, Clairol is introducing Nice ’n Easy Root Touch-Up. The kit, which is designed to cover roots in 10 minutes no matter which brand of color you use, could potentially bring salon goers to the hair color aisle of chain drugstores. Root Touch-Up will make its debut in March for a suggested retail price of $6.99.

P&G has ramped up its cobranding efforts across its beauty and personal care brand portfolio, as evidenced by the recent introduction of Secret Platinum & Olay Conditioners, a deodorant featuring skin care technology. The influx of cobranded products will soon extend to the hair care category. This spring, Clairol will roll out Hydrience hair color with Pantene IntensivMoisture After-Color Therapy, a six-week supply of conditioner designed to moisturize newly colored hair to enhance shine. The new Hydrience product will sell for a suggested retail price of $7.99.

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