Come February, Herbal Essences will reintroduce two classic ranges — the Smooth Collection and the Shine Collection — housed in the brand’s trademark translucent, botanically bedecked packaging, which was available from 1995 until getting a new look in 2006.
Although the items are dead ringers for their former selves — scent included — formulas have been updated slightly to be sulfate- and silicone-free. “These are the perfumes inherent to what really spoke to the consumer,” said Walter Geiger, vice president and general manager North America Hair Care. “[The move is meant to] re-create the impact of the original campaign that resonated so strongly with women in the Nineties, but with a modern sensibility.”
Many consumers will remember the range for its sexual-innuendo-filled advertisements (think: woman in an airplane bathroom screaming “Yes, yes, yes” unknowingly over the intercom, culminating with the tag line “A Totally Organic Experience”). Although the details have not been revealed, the brand will be unveiling its first national ad campaign — said to make a nod to its predecessor — at the Grammys on Feb. 10. “There is a trend for nostalgia and bringing them back to simpler and more carefree times,” said Geiger. “We are [returning] to an iconic time for the brand.”
According to Symphony IRI, unit sales have been on the decline for Herbal Essences over the past three years in mass retailers, not counting Wal-Mart stores. Between Jan. 1 and Dec. 2 this year, there was a small increase in sales (up .04 percent), but sales numbers had been down the two years before that, 5.4 percent and 1.94 percent, respectively. Although the brand would not break out figures regarding the new launch, industry sources believe the four stockkeeping units could generate $20 million in their first year at retail.
Through the relaunch, Geiger is clearly trying to reignite some of the brand’s former glory. “We are trying to get those consumers who liked the brand in the past,” he said. “What also excites me is that I believe it will also appeal to a new user base that doesn’t overlap with the current [Herbal Essences] customer.”
Why look backward to move forward? According to Geiger, the move comes after thousands of consumers clamored for the company to bring back Herbal Essences’ previous formula and look, even sending a formal petition. “In my career at P&G, I’ve never seen so many consumer reactions for a certain item, which is much easier to track now with social media,” he said. “The most important thing here was the consumer demand.”
Originally introduced in 1971, during the height of the hippie movement, Herbal Essences (originally called Herbal Essence) is often referred to as the first sensorial or experiential shampoo. It was acquired by Procter & Gamble in 2001 with the purchase of the Clairol business. In 2006, in a move to “reenergize” the brand, the entire Herbal Essences line was repackaged and restaged to appeal to a younger audience. To wit, outer packaging became opaque and color coded, with a curved shape so that shampoo and conditioner bottles could fit together on a shelf, encouraging the purchase of both items.
“We moved away from classics, at the time, for a strategic reason,” said Geiger. “In order to reenergize the brand, which had become more for ‘every woman,’ we needed to reset our target ‘who,’ and focused on Millennials.” According to the company, today’s target Herbal Essences consumer is 18 to 35.
According to Geiger, the two returning lines were chosen because they were the top two ranges for Herbal Essences at retail in the early Aughts. The Smooth Collection, which features a soft pink packaging shade, contains rose hips, vitamin E and jojoba extracts, while the marigold-hued Shine Collection includes a blend of chamomile, aloe vera and passionflower extracts.
Coinciding with the launch will be national marketing support in print, digital and television. Additionally, the brand’s media plan centers on a “robust sponsorship” of the Grammys, including an in-show experience and integration with the Grammy Awards’ social channels. “We know women are deeply influenced by their social networks and pop culture, so we are creating an expansive sponsorship with the Grammy Awards that will reach her everywhere she is — digitally, socially, through mobile, on TV, through music and more,” said Geiger.
Taking the final spot on the mens’ portion of New York Fashion Week calendar next month will be none other than @tomford. Though he’s shown his men’s wear in New York in the past, this will mark the first time the designer has shown his men’s collection alone during New York Fashion Week: Men’s. His runway show will debut on February 6 at the Park Avenue Armory. #wwdfashion
London-based couture house @ralphandrusso has certainly been in the spotlight, having its dresses worn by @beyonce, Angelina Jolie, Meghan Markle in her engagement photos and more. For couture, Tamara Ralph focused on ornamentation — think: feathers with chain mail, jet embroidery and clusters of pearls and crystals. See the rest of the collection on WWD.com #wwdfashion #couture (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo)
Minnie Mouse celebrated her 90th birthday by getting her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. For her celebratory luncheon, @coach’s creative director @stuartvevers dressed her in a custom made prairie dress, complete with Vever’s take on the polka dot – black sequined versions – under a cropped motorcycle jacket. The designer also put his own mark on Minnie’s classic red shoes, infusing the color with sparkles and adding some Coach crystals. “We chose colors that were very Minnie and also represented quintessential Coach elements,” said Vevers. #wwdfashion #nationalpolkadotday (📷: George Chinsee)
@nickjonas is unveiling his first-ever apparel collection through a partnership with John Varvatos. The limited-edition capsule, which makes its debut in spring, also marks the first time the designer has collaborated with anyone on a line. “The process in working with Nick is amazing. It’s inspiring to be around someone who is not only connected with the trade that they do, but also with what’s happening in the environment around him, and how that connects to what we do with style,” said Varvatos. (RG: @johnvarvatos) #wwdfashion
@margotrobbie steps out onto the red carpet wearing @miumiu. The actress is nominated for “Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role” in “I, Tonya” at the #SagAwards. (📷: Stewart Cook) #wwdfashion
For @massimogiorgetti of @msgm, the Nineties are his favorite decade. “They had a huge impact on my personal growth. What I like of the Nineties is that they are not so precise in terms of style as other decades…there was actually a bit of everything,” he said. As seen on MSGM’s Spring 2018 show: tie-dye and a bit of grunge, two styles that are synonymous with the decade #wwdfashion #wwddecades (📷: @kukukuba)