By  on April 20, 2007

Pantene, the best-selling hair care brand in the U.S., has embarked on one of its largest restaging efforts and plans to bring to market this May upgraded packaging, formulas and advertising.

The effort, which ultimately aims to make shopping all 130 stockkeeping units easier, is a milestone for the 60-year-old, $3 billion global brand.

"We've made it easier to find things on the shelf," said Craig Bahner, general manager and vice president of North American Haircare for Procter & Gamble, Pantene's parent.

About 30 percent easier, according to P&G consumer shopping data. Indeed, sorting out what's best from more than 100 Pantene items within 23 collections — not to mention the hundreds of other choices in hair care — can be a daunting experience.

In turn, P&G focused not only on improving what is in and on the bottle, but also how to differentiate one container from another.

"We are dividing the brand into five columns based on consumer needs, including Healthy Look & Style, Simply Healthy, Healthy Color, Therapeutic and Ethnic. Each column has different design elements to distinguish it from the others and help shoppers deselect the products that aren't relevant for them. Significant consumer research went into understanding the unique needs of consumers and developing the columns to meet those needs," said Bahner.

Pantene's 23 collections will remain but have been tweaked and blended. For example, the new Treatment collection is made up of the eight best-selling treatment products from all of the collections. Also, Pantene's best-selling shampoos and conditioners have been reformulated to include Pantene Pro-V's "reflective shine complex," a proprietary formula that aims to keep hair smooth for better alignment and shine.

Packaging design changes are subtle, but were designed to generate consumer interest. A new icon at the top of containers is meant to represent the transformation that Pantene products are meant to provide. A cobalt blue cap is intended to give Pantene a more premium look since "consumers say it is salon-like and elevates the brand to a new level." Each cap now also has a foil ring in one of five colors that corresponds to the architecture of one of the five columns. "Consumers consistently notice the foil ring and remark that it improves purchase intent," Bahner said.In typical P&G fashion, consumer feedback led the beauty firm to create what will be making its way onto shelves next month. The restage has been working its way around the globe, beginning in Australia and moving to Asia, Europe, Latin American and, next month, North America.

Bahner said data showed that while consumers continue to love Pantene, they were asking for some changes.

"Every time we take a program to market it is very intentional. That's what we have with this. We knew consumers loved the brand, but they wanted a simpler shopping experience, an upgrade in formulas and wanted to build a deeper emotional connection with the brand," Bahner said.

But, sales data also show that consumers like what Pantene is already delivering since sales continue to grow.

Overall brand sales in the U.S. exceed $1 billion, said Bahner, while dollar share has gone up a point over the past three years.

New ad visuals are scheduled to break in May on TV, in magazines and on the Internet. Beautiful, healthy hair will remain the centerpiece of ads, however, the women depicted in the ads will take on a "new confidence."

"Pantene's new campaign reflects the brand's renewed sense of purpose to help each woman's unique beauty shine through. Its goal is to elevate Pantene from its historic high-performance functional platform into an emotionally relevant one. Our new tag line, 'Shine,' summarizes Pantene's new attitude, which encourages women to look their best and be their best. The campaign is grounded in an insight that most women relate to 'A bad hair day makes for a bad day overall,' but goes beyond that by introducing an emotional angle inviting women to express the confidence a good hair day gives them by shining inside and out, such as with phrases 'Make a wish list, not a to-do list,' and 'Feel the rainbow, not the rain.'"

All of the upgrades call for a small price increase. A large size of Pantene is likely to jump 50 cents to $1, depending on the retailer, from $5.97 to $6.47 in the average mass retailer. But Bahner stressed that pricing is at the sole discretion of the retailer and will vary.

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