Byline: Chantal Tode

NEW YORK — Dep Corp. has emerged from limbo.
California-based Dep Corp. ended 1996 on the upswing when two courtroom cases that had besieged the styling-aid manufacturer came to conclusion.
First, on Nov. 11, Dep emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy eight months after it announced it was having financial difficulties based on the 1993 acquisition of Agree and Halsa from S.C. Johnson & Son.
Then, on Dec. 19, Dep announced that it had reached an out-of-court settlement with S.C. Johnson & Son in connection with pending litigation that arose from the purchase of Agree and Halsa.
With these problems apparently behind it, Dep is ready to move ahead, said David Berglass, vice president of marketing.
“We had to use the Chapter 11 avenue to allow us to get a business plan in place that would enable the company to move forward in a growth-oriented manner.
“What you will be seeing this year is a reenergization of business. We will get back to being an innovative, entrepreneurial-oriented company that comes out with niche product,” said Berglass.
L.A. Looks, one of the company’s strongest brands, will be the first to benefit from Dep’s newly liberated resources, said Berglass. The company’s other lines include Dep gel and Lilt home permanent wave.
In the vein of hair care products that address specific problems, Dep is currently shipping Frizz-Free Smoothing Serum to drug, food and discount stores.
“The frizz category has grown a lot in the past few years,” said Berglass. “L.A. Looks’ product is easier to use than the others because of the pump application.”
Frizz-Free is a concentrated serum that smooths frizzy hair. It comes in a 1.7-oz. pump dispenser that is priced at $6.99.
The other introductions to the L.A. Looks brand fit a two-in-one product trend popular for styling aids right now and are currently shipping to mass market retailers.
One of the new items is a Shine Enhancing styling gel that adds shine to hair and holds a style in place. A 16-oz. container costs $1.99.
The other two-in-one product is Style ‘N Hold shaping spray that comes in Mega Hold and Ultimate Hold strengths.
Style ‘N Hold purports to have a longer drying time than traditional sprays, so it allows for styling before it dries and locks a hair look in place. Style ‘N Hold is available in 7-oz. bottles that are priced at $1.99.
Marketing plans for the L.A. Looks brand in 1997 include print advertising, local TV advertising and a model search contest.
New print ads that attempt to embody Los Angeles’s glamorous image and communicate that L.A. Looks helps women achieve a similar look will run in magazines such as Cosmopolitan, YM and Seventeen.
Dep is repeating its L.A. Looks Model Contest for the third time this year, said Berglass. Each of three winners will receive a modeling contract from L.A. Models.
The firm tries to make the contest a retail event by holding events in stores or in nearby malls across the country and having hair stylists present to style women’s hair.
Local radio and TV advertising is being scheduled for broadcast during the period when the in-store events are taking place in a specific region.