When consumers petition to bring back a beauty product, brands better listen.
This story first appeared in the November 14, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
It took a while, but Kao-owned John Frieda did. In January, devoted fans of Beach Blonde are getting a second chance at ocean waves. Beauty enthusiasts have mourned the discontinued product, which launched in 2001 and went off the shelves in 2004. So why bring it back now?
“It was a huge product during the summer when people wanted those waves,” said Karen Frank, vice president of marketing, mass, at Kao, USA. “Year round, it wasn’t sustainable on shelf, but now the wavy look is something women have all the time.”
All priced at $9.99, the collection includes shampoo, conditioner, sea salt spray and lightening spray.
To that end, in February, Kao will launch a new range of John Frieda ad campaigns.
“We’re trying to create a relationship between the woman and her stylist and the woman and John,” said Dave Muenz, vice president and regional executive, mass business sector, at Kao Corp. “It goes back to when John partnered with the people he catered to, understood their needs and created their products. We’re trying to go to a new place that’s not so contrived.”
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The campaign, which appears to be more editorial than past advertisements, includes a black-and-white photograph of a woman with a graphic message reading “Me & John” in a color correlating with a specific collection. For instance, sea foam green signifies the Beach Blonde range.
To coincide with the new images, the company is unveiling an array of new products including 7 Day Volume to boost hair thickness and 11 new Frizz Ease items all priced at $9.99 and sold at food, drug and mass retailers worldwide.
According to IRI, in the last 52 weeks, ending Oct. 5, John Frieda Frizz Ease sales amounted to $92.5 million, a 2.4 percent increase versus last year. Although dollar sales are up, unit sales are down 3 percent, amounting to 16 million for the prior year.
“Frizz is a concern among all hair types, but almost one out of every two wavy-haired consumer cites frizz as their primary concern,” said Crista Bailey, chief executive officer of Texture Media Inc.
Frank declared that 18 million women have frizzy hair in the U.S.
“Our vision is always about strategic progress,” said John Nosek, president at Kao USA. “It’s about being close to the consumer.” Nosek would not discuss sales projections, but various industry sources suggested the new products could hit $55 million in retail sales in its first year on shelf.