NEW YORK — “American Idol” star Katharine McPhee has partnered with Sexy Hair Concepts to act as the company’s celebrity spokeswoman.

“I always loved the look and smell of Sexy Hair products, along with the overall idea of ‘Who doesn’t want sexy hair?,’” said McPhee, runner-up to Taylor Hicks in the most recent season of Fox’s hit show “American Idol.” “I enjoy being a woman, and these products embrace your femininity and enhance the beauty you already have.”

As part of the multimillion-dollar, two-year contract, McPhee will appear in the company’s ads and promotional materials. Print ads will feature two-page spreads (one page with product, the other with McPhee) and are scheduled to break in October beauty, fashion and entertainment magazines. Jim Morrison, Sexy Hair Concept’s president and chief executive officer as of March, said Sexy Hair is also looking into cross-promotional opportunities with McPhee’s debut CD, which is slated for release in the fourth quarter. The company is in discussions to participate in the CD’s national marketing campaign, and is considering inserting coupons or gift certificates in CD cases to help attract McPhee’s fans to the hair care line.

According to industry sources, the company will spend between $5 million and $7 million on advertising. Starting as early as September, McPhee will appear on brochures and displays.

Chatsworth, Calif.-based Sexy Hair, which markets the Big Sexy, Short Sexy, Straight Sexy and Healthy Sexy Hair brands, generates between $80 million and $90 million in sales, according to industry sources, with distribution in 35,000 salons.

Morrison said the company plans to expand distribution to roughly 50,000 salons by the end of next year.

As for the selection of McPhee to speak for the brand, “We were attracted to the combination of her beauty, youthfulness, talent, attitude and strength,” said Morrison, who served as president of L’Oréal’s Professional Products Division from 1992 to 2000. Morrison had spent some time in retirement, but he returned to the business when he opened a spa called Maximus here in 2001.

Morrison hopes the partnership with McPhee will broaden Sexy Hair’s appeal, both with consumers and salons. “We think she’ll attract a new group of consumers that are younger to our company,” said Morrison, who added that Sexy Hair currently targets consumers in their late 20s and early 30s.

This story first appeared in the July 27, 2006 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

When looking for a spokesperson, Sexy Hair wanted to find someone who “embodied the aura of the brand.” The company first approached McPhee in April when “American Idol” was down to 10 contestants, Morrison said.

“She can take us into the future with her youthful thinking while embodying what Sexy Hair is all about: fun, beauty, vibrant, sassy, youthful and energetic,” said Michael O’Rourke, founder of Sexy Hair. “It’s a frame of mind. She brings a new thought process to our company and will think ahead as to what the new generation wants.”

McPhee will also play an integral role in conceptualizing and developing new products’ fragrances, designs and packaging. According to Morrison, McPhee volunteered her time and expressed interest in wanting to be involved with giving feedback and suggestions on products.

“This gives me an opportunity to really get involved and not just be a face of the company, but be a backbone in creating products to suit today’s customers,” said McPhee.

Morrison said that in January the company plans to launch a line of about eight hair care and styling products designed for McPhee’s thick and wavy hair type and to protect hair from damage. “This is for people whose hair needs special treatment,” said Morrison.

McPhee admitted to being a product junkie, usually visiting Sephora for her beauty needs.

“I was known for being that ‘girl with all the products.’ I remember my friends would come over to my house before football games so that I could put makeup on them,” she said.

load comments
blog comments powered by Disqus