Clairol Eyes Revival With New Ads

NEW YORK — Less than a year after acquiring Clairol, Procter & Gamble is about to unleash the largest advertising and marketing blitz in the hair color and hair care brand’s 52-year history.<br><br>Starting Monday, Clairol will echo across...

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NEW YORK — Less than a year after acquiring Clairol, Procter & Gamble is about to unleash the largest advertising and marketing blitz in the hair color and hair care brand’s 52-year history.

This story first appeared in the September 13, 2002 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Starting Monday, Clairol will echo across the airwaves, with seven TV spots broadcast over eight weeks. That onslaught will be followed by eight-page advertising inserts appearing in November and December editions of top women’s magazines, such as Cosmopolitan, Vogue, Glamour and In Style. The print campaign will be buttressed by billboard, subway and cab-top advertising. Clairol’s name will beam from a billboard atop the W Hotel at Broadway and 47th Street in New York’s Times Square for a month, starting in mid-September. The Clairol Web site will even be hooked into the campaign by displaying its signature.

The punchline of all this is “Colorwonderful. The color of Clairol. The wonder of you.” The entire campaign is aimed at reestablishing Clairol’s consumer color authority, a category that, as P&G executives point out, the company invented in the mid-Fifties with Miss Clairol. “Our objective is to reenergize Clairol as a leader in color,” said Rob Matteucci, president of P&G’s Clairol division.

In an interview last year, Clayton C. Daley, P&G’s chief financial officer, said Clairol has a 12 percent global colorant share. Of Clairol’s $1.6 billion global sales, approximately $900 million are generated by hair care sales and $700 million are generated by hair color sales. According to AC Nielsen, Clairol had a 37.5 percent dollar share of the U.S. hair care market for the latest 52-week period. That figure, however, does not include Wal-Mart, which is Clairol’s biggest customer.

P&G does not break out sales projections or advertising budgets and in this case the company refused to discuss the cost of the Colorwonderful campaign. But industry sources estimate that P&G will spend $12 million to $18 million for the first eight weeks alone.

The campaign was created by Ericsson Fina, a division of Grey Worldwide. President Alice Ericsson, who conceived the campaign that sparked the revival of P&G’s Cover Girl brand several years ago, said the campaign is based on two dynamics — the brand’s natural authority in color and “the joy of color,” meaning the exuberance and the wellspring of inner emotions that beautiful hair can inspire.

Matteucci noted that Clairol’s 800 telephone hot line sets records in phone traffic, logging 10 million calls a year. That traffic, he maintains, is a testament to the respect in which the public holds Clairol, particularly when it comes to seeking advice.

The campaign seeks to portray Clairol’s family of four consumer hair color brands in their filial ties and their individual personalities. Nice ‘n Easy is the largest brand of the four. It is a moderately priced permanent hair color with a price point of $7.99 a kit. It is targeted at women ages 25-49 looking for a natural-looking hair color.

The other three brands do about the same amount of volume. Hydrience, a deep moisturizing permanent color, is premium priced at $9.99 a kit. It is aimed at 25- to 49-year-old women looking for radiant color that lasts six weeks. Herbal Essences, a spin-off of the popular hair care brand, is aimed at 16- to 34-year-old customers looking for intense color with personality. It also has a $9.99 suggested price tag.

Natural Instincts is semi-permanent formula designed to condition hair while covering gray and enhancing natural color. It is moderately priced at $7.99 a bottle.

The four brands will be featured under the Colorwonderful umbrella. Matteucci described the synergy as “the Clairol family with four sisters.” Clairol has broken ground in the past with startling campaigns like the orgasmic Herbal Essences spots. “But I don’t think Clairol ever made a statement with hair color,” Matteucci said.

As a secondary punch, P&G will follow the joint campaign with individual initiatives spotlighting each of the four brands, beginning with the new year. Ericsson Fina did three of the individual campaigns. Herbal Essences advertising was created by Kaplan Thaler.

P&G’s motive is to remind the consuming public of Clairol’s role in innovation, technology and education.

“Our objective is to be the leader in hair color,” Matteucci said, acknowledging that the top spot is now occupied by the French giant L’Oréal. In a reference to the often-quoted dictum of P&G chairman A.G. Lafley, who believes it all begins with the consumer, Matteucci said sales leadership stems from choices made at the point of sale. “We want to be leaders in terms of making statements that make a difference in women’s lives. That can lead to market share.”

Briefly switching subjects, Matteucci turned to the professional division that supplies products to hair salons. While clearly P&G began by working on the consumer end of Clairol, Matteucci went out of his way to emphasize that P&G is serious about the salon business. “The fact that I have less specifics on the professional side does not mean that we are less committed,” he declared.

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