By  on April 17, 2009

John Frieda has named Italian hairstylist Luigi Murenu as global creative consultant to help extend the brand’s worldwide reach.

“Luigi is very close to the fashion world, and he is certainly one of the best people to know about trends and to guide us in terms of edginess and what’s cool,” said Arnaud Meysselle, global vice president for hair care at Kao Brands, which owns John Frieda. “His mission is to feed the brand with the visions and the style.”

According to brand founder and global consultant John Frieda, Murenu’s role will be multifaceted. In addition to serving as a spokesman promoting the brand, he will work with agency Kirshenbaum Bond + Partners to create hairstyles for John Frieda’s print and advertising campaign and will also be responsible for innovation and consulting with Frieda and Kao Brand’s research and development team to create new product. “These are the guys that create the hair trends that the rest of the world follows,” Frieda said. “So we’ll be getting his ideas about what he needs when he is out working with celebrities in the studio or backstage with models, so that between us we can formulate the kind of products we want to bring out.” Frieda, who has begun discussing product ideas with his new global creative consultant, said he didn’t anticipate the launch of any products Murenu has worked on until next year. Print and television campaigns featuring Murenu’s creative touch will run from the first quarter of 2010 in the U.S., Europe, Canada and Australia.

Murenu, a fixture on the editorial and runway scene who left his home of Sardinia, Italy, at age 20 to pursue a career as a hairstylist in Paris and London, said the multiyear deal at John Frieda presented an opportunity to try something new. The move into the mass market arena is a first for Murenu, who previously partnered with professional brand Kérastase, which hired him as the artistic consultant for its Nutri-Sculpt styling products in 2004. “I am already known for what I do, but this time I’m going to be able to speak not in a louder range, but to a wider audience,” said Murenu, who has worked with everyone from Madonna and Jennifer Lopez to magazines like Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar. “Working with John Frieda gives me a global platform to reach a worldwide audience.”

And that global recognition, according to Meysselle and Frieda, is a key part of the brand’s strategy as it pursues international expansion. “His reach beyond the U.S., particularly in Europe as he is Italian and speaks three languages, is going to be a tremendous asset to all those European markets we are expanding in,” said Frieda.

John Frieda, which according to Meysselle has until now been a predominantly U.S. and U.K. “English-speaking brand,” recently opened distribution in Italy, Russia and Spain and is eyeing Turkey. John Frieda is the number-two brand in the U.K. — and according to company executives, the brand experienced solid growth in Europe in 2008, capturing market share in places like Germany, Belgium and Spain. While Meysselle said 2008 “was a bit more difficult” in the U.S. in terms of growing market share, the U.S. market still remains number one in terms of sales for the brand.

Information Resources Inc. data shows John Frieda generated U.S. sales of about $121.2 million in food, drug and mass stores (excluding Wal-Mart) for the year ending Dec. 28, 2008, a sales decrease of 5.5 percent compared with the previous year.

John Frieda is hoping Murenu will propel the brand’s sales in all countries. “The reach of the brand is already there, but one of the great strengths he brings is that he’s a big deal and every editor wants to hear what he has to say,” said Frieda.

Murenu, already a devout fan of the brand’s styling products, also has high expectations. “I want to take the brand to another level,” said Murenu. “The John Frieda brand and I are going to bring a lot of excitement to the customers because that’s what they’re waiting for and that’s what we are going to bring to them.”

Murenu will join international creative consultant Harry Josh, creative color director Nicola Clarke and international creative consultant Kerry Warn as a member of the John Frieda team.

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