Byline: Julie Naughton

NEW YORK — The slogan for hair care manufacturers making market tours these days seems to be “get on the bus” — and the latest to hit the road is Pantene.
The Pantene tour will stretch across America, and it is designed to boost awareness for Pantene Pro-V, a shampoo and styling line launched in November 1992.
Pantene, a 45-year-old hair care line that has been owned by Procter & Gamble since November 1985, reportedly did $1.6 billion at retail in 1998. It is sold in 60 countries.
The road-trip strategy — complete with free samples and hair care advice — has proved to be successful for many hair care manufacturers, several of whom have taken to the open road within the last year.
For instance, Helene Curtis’s 20-week, 13-city tour for its ThermaSilk brand during the summer of ’98 reportedly put more than 325,000 samples into the hands of consumers, and Clairol will wrap up its four-and-a-half-month hair color awareness-and-makeover bus tour in early November.
But unlike its fellow road buddies — which averaged 20 stops over four months — Pantene will spread its effort over more than six months, with a five-pronged approach intended to distribute more than 135 million samples nationwide.
“It’s the largest sampling we’ve done to date — and we think it’s the largest sampling effort ever of any beauty brand,” said Tracey Long, a spokeswoman for Procter & Gamble.
Long said the campaign is intended to reshape the brand’s image, as well as raise its profile. “The brand already enjoys great sales; now, we’re promoting an accessible lifestyle image. This sampling tour, together with the new advertising we introduced in July, is the perfect way to get that point across.”
Coordinating with the company’s fall advertising campaign, the bus campaign’s tagline is “Love Your Hair.”
The first road trip will take off from New York City in late September. It will include five Pantene-branded semi-trucks that will travel to 48 states, making about 1,500 stops and distributing a total of 60 million product samples.
During this tour, consultants will offer free hair assessments and, depending on the person’s hair type, will distribute samples of Pantene Pro-V Shampoo and Pantene Pro-V Daily Treatment Conditioner in Normal, Pro-V Color, Dry/Damaged and Extra Body Formulas. The brand will feature a tour schedule on a related web site,
In a separate road promotion, Pantene will visit 65 college campuses with Spa Pantene, a mobile, interactive spa.
Offering samples of Pantene Pro-V, as well as hair care consultations, massages, facials and aromatherapy sessions, the spa will go on the road in September.
Other beauty vehicles are also getting on the road. One of these efforts, the Glamour Venus Beauty Tour, is another part of Pantene’s plan, said Long.
“Glamour magazine is visiting 10 college campuses and holding a concert series and festival that will include a big sampling effort,” said Long. “Pantene will participate in an extensive sampling blitz through Glamour’s distribution efforts, which will provide Pantene with an interactive showcase to communicate our brand message and provide one-on-one hair and product consultations to students.”
As reported, Allure magazine has also adopted the concept. In August, the magazine launched an interactive beauty bus, Allure on Tour. Set to stop at 20 musical concert sites across the U.S., the vehicle gives consumers the chance to test products by Ultress, Aveda, Chanel, Christian Dior, Neutrogena and others, as well as get advice from beauty pros.
Pantene’s campaign also includes a newspaper drop, which launched Sunday, Aug. 29, and distributed 40 million samples, and an in-store sampling campaign that will distribute five million samples in 16,000 mass market, drugstore and food doors.