The Seb Man advertising campaign.

MILAN — Coty Inc. is stepping up its game in men’s beauty launching two grooming lines as part of its Professional Beauty division.

Named Seb Man and System Man, the ranges are the men’s counterparts to the company’s existing hair-care brands Sebastian Professional and System Professional. In addition to these, Coty Professional Beauty includes in its portfolio Wella Professionals, Londa Professional, Sassoon Professional, OPI and Ghd, among others labels.

“We had grooming brands in our mind for a long time but, to be specific, in 2016 we really accelerated…on both projects,” Randall Chinchilla, Coty Professional Beauty global vice president of influencer marketing, told WWD.

“In 2016, we were looking at trends, and in the period between 2016 and 2020, the size of the grooming market is set to triple,” Chinchilla continued. He added that the choice to introduce two lines simultaneously “is because we have very strong propositions that are anchored in very distinctive insights and micro-targets,” in addition to telegraphing the company’s commitment and confidence in gaining traction “in a super-fast growing market.”

In particular, Seb Man will enable Coty to strengthen its presence in the booming business of barbershops with its 12-item range of hair-care, styling and grooming products targeting Millennials and the Gen Z generation. More widely, Chinchilla defined the brand’s target as the “slasher culture,” meaning those juggling multiple careers and passions and refusing “to be categorized and labeled.”

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To adapt to this modern male consumer’s demands, the line offers hassle-free and on-the-go products including The Multitasker 3-in-1 hair, beard and body wash suitable for all hair types, The Hero versatile liquid wax providing a sleek finish, high hold and shine and The Gent moisturizing and cooling after-shave soothing balm, among others.

Seb Man products.

Seb Man products.  Courtesy Photo

With prices ranging from approximately $29 for The Hero to $40 for The Multitasker, Seb Man will debut this month in Belgium and the Netherlands, closely followed by the U.K. At the beginning of 2019, it will be introduced in France, Spain, Portugal and Italy, reaching a total of 70,000 European doors in its first year. The rollout will hit the U.S. in March and be completed in the second half of 2019, when the range will be distributed in Eastern Europe, Turkey, Australia and South Africa.

“We had limited to no presence in barbershops, and [they are] growing around the line of 15 percent just this year, so [they are] certainly something we want to be a part of, also because there’s been a sort of new energy behind, a new exciting movement,” said Chinchilla, adding they will be more and more at the center of Coty’s future strategies in the men’s category. “Right now we’re looking at potentially collaborating with influential barbers, we’re talking in early days but that could take many different avenues,” he said.

The company has named 22-year-old Australian hairstylist Aiden Xydis as Seb Man’s global creative artist. Resident principal barber and men’s hair specialist in The Men’s Grooming Room of Valonz in Paddington, Australia, Xydis ultimately embodies the line’s multifaceted man as he describes himself also as a tattoo artist and digital addict.

Seb Man's global creative artist Aiden Xydis.

Aiden Xydis 

Coty tapped three Instagram personalities to front Seb Man’s advertising campaign. Shot in Los Angeles and flanked by a short video debuting on social media this week, the black-and-white images portray British model, biker and producer Billy Huxley, French BMX rider-cum-filmmaker-cum-rising actor Matthias Dandois and New York-based blogger, writer and men’s wear stylist Denny Balmaceda.

Reflecting the diversity in nationalities and passions, the three ambassadors also count a different following on social media, ranging from the 378,000 followers of Huxley to the 78,000 followers of Balmaceda.

“We were not really looking for people who had millions of followers but for the most important thing for us, which is authenticity. So people who really connected with the brand, believed in it and actually were the target we are going after,” said Chinchilla, underscoring that “it’s far more authentic and relevant to do it that way, than just focusing on reach.”

British model, biker and producer Billy Huxley in the Seb Man ad campaign.

British model, biker and producer Billy Huxley in the Seb Man ad campaign.  Courtesy Photo

On the other hand, the System Man line’s distinctiveness lies in offering a premium experience through customization.

Anchored in science, the nine-item range of hair-care and styling products has been developed starting from the insight that hair is unique to each person — similar to fingerprints — and does not only contain keratin and proteins, but also lipids, which is the building block of hair and responsible for its manageability and responsiveness.

Starting from this assumption, the System Man’s EnergyCode mapping tool has been designed to diagnose each consumer’s hair types in professional salons by trained experts. After the hair mapping, the experts prescribe clients a customized combination of products from the entire System Professional range, which offers more than 262 million total combinations.

Key products of the System Men line include the Energy Shampoo, cleansing hair and scalp; the Hair & Beard Conditioner providing smoothness to hair and beards; the Hair & Beard Oil offering them lightweight moisturization and specifically designed for manageable shine, anti-frizz, and smoothness and the styling Wax Pomade providing structured definition and hold with a natural shine effect.

With prices ranging from approximately $26 for the Energy Shampoo to $34 for the Hair & Beard Conditioner, the line will debut this month in premium salons in Europe, where it’s set to reach 5,000 doors in the first year. The rollout will be consequentially expanded and completed next year, reaching Japan and the U.S. in the second half of 2019.

System Man products.

System Man products.  Courtesy Photo

In addition, the Hair & Beard Oil product is at the core of a limited-edition Coty Professional Beauty developed in partnership with Italian entrepreneur Lapo Elkann.

Chinchilla explained the company was looking for a collaboration relevant to the brand and true to its ultra-personalization element, which executives found reflected in the Garage Italia project Elkann founded in 2015 to offer a high-end customization service for the motion industry. Elkann happening to be already a System Professional customer was a plus leading him to his first capsule for a men’s grooming brand.

Renamed Blunique by Lapo and retailing at $29, the Hair & Beard Oil has been revisited in its packaging, which trades the line’s signature green color in favor of the two Pantone shades of blue recently copyrighted by the entrepreneur, called Azzurro Lapo and Blu Garage, combined in a herringbone pattern. Flanking the product, Elkann also designed an exclusive pocket square of the same pattern, available for salon clients as a gift with the purchase.

System Man's limited edition designed by Lapo Elkann.

System Man’s limited edition designed by Lapo Elkann.  Courtesy Photo

To further cement this partnership, both the Seb Man and System Man lines will be officially launched on Tuesday at Elkann’s Garage Italia space in Milan, a 18,300-square-foot venue opened last year and housing the customization service for cars, motorcycles, airplanes, helicopters and boats, along with a bar and a restaurant by Michelin-starred chef Carlo Cracco.

The Seb Man ambassadors Huxley and Dandois are expected to attend the event, along with Xydis and Sebastian Professional’s face Poppy Delevingne.

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