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Actress Camila Mendes is the latest influencer to join John Frieda’s “Your Hair Talks. Make a Statement” campaign. Mendes will make her first appearance for the campaign in content debuting in May. The actress, who stars as Veronica Lodge in the CW’s “Riverdale” television show, said her tresses play an integral role in her characters on-set and her real life. The 23-year-old of Brazilian and Portuguese descent wasn’t always happy with her locks, though.

“I struggled a lot with frizzy and unruly hair. I definitely got my dad’s side of the family hair — coarse, thick hair — and there’s lots of it. My mom’s was smooth and straight and she didn’t need to do anything to it,” said Mendes during a break while filming a new movie in New Orleans called “The Stand-In.” In an attempt to emulate her mom’s silky strands, Mendes said she did some crazy things to her hair including “straightening the crap out of it” and getting keratin treatments. When she was 11, she discovered John Frieda Frizz Ease Serum while thumbing through a magazine. “I bought it the next time I went to the pharmacy and it has become one of my tried-and-true products.”

Heather Warnke, director of marketing at John Frieda Hair Care parent Kao USA, said Mendes’ loyalty was one of the factors that attracted the company to her for the second year of its campaign. “What we love the most is that she has been a fan of our Frizz Ease products since she was a teenager. She realized the power of how product could transform the natural hair she had. We knew she could take the campaign to the next level.”

Mendes said she learned how to make a statement by using product to achieve different hair styles.  When she auditions for new roles, she tees up her hair to the character. The transformation, she said, is critical to show her acting range beyond her recognizable Veronica hairdo. “If I’m going for the girl next door, I can wear a ponytail or if I need to be a wild girl I can have my hair loose and messy. So much can be said through our hair,” added Mendes.

Her personal stories and those of other powerful women told via the campaign produced by Vox Media are expected to usher in a new generation of users to the venerable John Frieda hair-care brand. In addition, the campaign is geared to bolster interest in shopping the mass market, drug aisles and dot-coms of retailers such as Target, Walmart, Ulta Beauty, Walgreens and Amazon. “I like that the products are so accessible,” Mendes said. “I know I can find them in any [mass-market] store I walk into.”

Warnke is confident that Mendes’ social following of 7.5 million on Instagram will help the “Your Hair Talks. Make a Statement.” campaign generate buzz, especially with younger customers. “Working with her will attract the next generation of user for us,” she said.

Already the efforts launched last year have resulted in bigger sales from younger and multicultural shoppers, she said. Building repeat shoppers is key in a category where shoppers tend to be fickle. “The hair-care category is constantly turning products, they come in and out. But we’ve been in the category for more than 30 years with cult products that work,” said Warnke.

While the first goal is to expose younger consumers to the existing lineup, Warnke said new products supported by Mendes, who is also serving as a brand ambassador, are in the pipeline. According to IRI data, Frizz Ease has consistently been in the top 20-selling hairstyling items sold in drugstores since it launched.

John Frieda hair care kicked off the “Your Hair Talks. Make a Statement.” campaign last year with singer Tinashe, who performed a concert at New York’s iHeartRadio Theater. She was one of four other musicians and musical acts featured over the course of the year, along with the stories of real women making their mark in their fields — technology innovators, wellness experts, chefs, gamers and girls next door. All of their stories showcase how their hair has been integral in shaping how they feel and portray themselves in their everyday hustle. The campaign stems from a culmination of research into how women feel about their hair that included “sitting on bedroom floors with women and going through their vanities,” Warnke said.

A full cadre of influencers to support the John Frieda Hair Care portfolio will be unveiled next month, said Warnke. That will include social content providers behind other John Frieda signature brands such as Sheer Blonde, Brilliant Brunette and Luxurious Volume.

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