With the introduction of its first hairstyling gel, Bumble and bumble is taking a modern and versatile twist on old-fashioned product form with the introduction of two items, Bb. Gel and Gellac. The idea is to use one product or the other, depending on the desired look.
This story first appeared in the January 30, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
“We were looking to create gels for years but wanted to be sure we came up with the right formula. The problem with gel is that it had a negative connotation from the Eighties since it broke down into a powder and caused flaking,” said Peter Lichtenthal, president of Bumble and bumble. “This gives a wide spectrum of looks, styles and effects that consumers can get from the gel category.”
According to executives, the company took its time working with stylists and chemists to develop a fine sculpting gel that didn’t flake, which was a major issue with previous formulations, going back decades. One product, Gel, was designed without alcohol to provide a flexible strength and add natural shine. It was designed to be brushed out to create a clean look, said Howard McLaren, vice president and senior artistic director for Bumble and bumble. “Gel products never had a sense of softness and elegance, but this allows consumers to think of using the product in a different way,” said McLaren.
Gellac was created as an extreme sculpting gel for a helmetlike hold, often seen in magazine pages. But it also is aimed at consumers looking for a more adventurous and dramatic style.
The company’s editorial team used the products backstage at New York and Paris Fashion Weeks last fall for spring 2009. The gels were featured in several of the looks created by the team at shows such as Ohne Titel, Veronique Branquinho, Chado Ralph Rucci, Tony Cohen, Naeem Khan and Jeremy Laing.
The products will be launched in March at Bumble and bumble’s 2,500 network salons and at bumbleandbumble.com. Both products will retail for $24, but the sizes will differ. Gel comes in a 5.-oz. tube, while Gellac is in a 4.2-oz. bottle.
With a lacquer-hard and glistening finish, Gellac also was created for those consumers looking for a very strong hold. “This fills a void for consumers and stylists who’ve requested these kinds of products for a long time now, and these products appeal to both men and women,” said McLaren.
Although company executives wouldn’t comment, industry sources estimate that both products will bring in $8 million in first-year retail sales.
To support the launch, the company filmed a futuristic short directed by McLaren, showcasing the different looks created by Gel and Gellac. To add an everyday touch, nonprofessional models were cast for the shoot. They were recruited from MySpace and Facebook. The shoot was held at the Seattle Public Library.
To offer education and guidance for consumers on using the products, Bumble created extensive how-to videos that will be available on the Web site, along with a selection of campaign images to show consumers the diverse range of looks that can be achieved with the products.