Byline: C.K.

NEW YORK — For its next major hair color launch, Clairol is joining the back-to-nature crowd.
In October, the company will ship Natural Instincts, a new semipermanent hair color. According to Clairol executives, 88 percent of the product’s formula is derived from natural ingredients, such as aloe, chamomile, ginseng and plant extracts.
While many salons offer natural hair coloring treatments, Clairol maintains that Natural Instincts is the first mostly natural consumer hair colorant launched in the U.S. by a major American company in broad distribution.
“We surveyed 2,000 women last year and two of their top priorities were natural ingredients and superior conditioning,” said Bill Susetka, vice president of marketing for Clairol. “We consider Natural Instincts to have the greatest potential of any hair color launch we have done in the last 10 years.”
Susetka noted that the company’s biggest introduction to date was Ultress, a permanent hair color launched in 1984.
According to A.C. Nielsen, Ultress now has a 6 percent share of the $750 million U.S. mass hair color market, or $45 million in sales.
“We would be disappointed if Natural Instincts didn’t perform that well in the first year,” Susetka added. “But we are quite sure that it will.”
The company is planning to launch Natural Instincts with the highest support levels it has put behind any hair color introduction, Susetka said.
While Clairol executives declined to divulge budgets, industry sources estimated that the company is spending in excess of $15 million to back the brand during its launch year.
In December, Clairol will launch a national TV campaign that will run for at least 12 months. A print magazine campaign will break in either December or January, Susetka said, and will run for a year in six to eight magazines.
Natural Instincts will be distributed in about 60,000 food stores, drugstores and mass outlets. Each of the 18 shades will have a suggested retail price of $6.99.
Clairol maintains that Natural Instincts solves many of the problems women have had with conventional hair coloring methods.
“The women we surveyed told us they didn’t like hair coloring to take a lot of time and that they didn’t like the unpleasant odor of many brands,” said Erica Penn, Natural Instincts senior product manager. “Natural Instincts delivers color in just 10 minutes and has a pleasant floral fragrance.”
The company is so sure that the brand’s fragrance will be a key selling point, that many of its print ads will carry scented strips, a first in hair color advertising history, according to Penn.
Natural Instincts was created to add complementary tones to a person’s natural hair color, while blending away up to 40 percent of gray hair.
According to Penn, the product imparts shine to the hair while conditioning and protecting it. The product is said to last for up to 24 shampoos or about six weeks.
In keeping with the product’s natural positioning, the Natural Instincts packaging is created out of 30 percent recycled materials and the instruction sheets are printed on 100 percent recycled paper.
According to Susetka, Clairol is planning to donate 5 percent of all Natural Instincts proceeds to an environmental cause, which will be named during the fourth quarter.

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