On Thursday, Clairol debuted a new marketing campaign serving as the first step in a multi-year effort to revamp and refresh the 92-year-old brand.
Clairol tapped nine content creators for a digital and television campaign called “It’s So Me,” including mother-daughter duo Gym Tan (@CaliforniaIsTooCasual; 10,600 Instagram followers) and Mya Miller (@MyaRoseMiller_; 27,7000 Instagram followers). Although subtle product changes to formulations and color expansions took place before the new campaign, “It’s So Me” represents the official kickoff of the brand’s new long-term strategy. It’s also Clairol’s first global campaign in five years.
The commercial, cut into 15-second, 30-second, and one-minute options, features a bumping music beat spotlighting multiple people using Clairol to achieve different results. These range from covering grays to achieving hair colors including icy blonde and bold pink. It will be distributed through paid ad placements across major social media platforms and TV advertising in the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Australia and New Zealand. There is also a marketing collaboration with the Amazon miniseries “Daisy Jones & The Six,” which takes place in the 1970s. Rather than product placement, the partnership centers on Clairol and “Daisy Jones” being shown together in paid and unpaid digital and social media posts and “get the look”-style tutorials.
Clairol wants customers to understand that hair color can be used to express themselves and that Clairol is a brand and product readily available to help them achieve that goal, said Lori Pantel, CMO of Wella Company North America. She declined to share the brand’s specific investment in the campaign.
“We aren’t telling individuals the trends or how to wear your hair. The breadth of this [campaign] is about self-empowerment, self-expression and individual choice,” she said. “By demonstrating the playfulness of the campaign and the variety of influences included, it demonstrates that anybody can find their true self and experiment.”
Clairol is owned by Wella Company, which counts hair-care brands such as Wella Professionals, Nioxin, GHD and nail polish brand OPI in its portfolio. In April 2022, Wella Company acquired Briogeo. In 2020, private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis & Roberts purchased Wella Company from Coty Inc. owning a 75% majority ownership with Coty Inc. retaining a 25% share.
According to data from The NPD Group, the hair-dye category experienced a 17% lift in year-over-year sales between Jan. 2021 and Nov. 2021, and a 77% increase compared to the same time in 2019. This stat is less surprising when considering the newer at-home brands, like Bleach London, Josh Wood Colour, Madison Reed and IGK. Retailers including Sally Beauty have particularly leaned hard into the do-it-yourself hair-dye trend. Part of the driving force are the improved quality and formulations of hair dye, and the growing acceptance among younger consumers of different hair types and colors.
“Changing your hair color is becoming more akin to changing your wardrobe for the season. That’s especially for Gen-Z consumers who are becoming at-home colorists with the help of friends or TikTok tutorials, and crave creative outlets for self-expression,” said Hugh Dineen, president of global brands and global CMO for Wella Company.
Pantel, citing GlobalData research, said 40% of Gen Z choose to regularly change their hair color as a form of self-expression throughout different life stages. Additionally, a 2020 report from OCAD University revealed that 73% of Gen Z believe they need more self-expression to live a happy, healthy life.
Aside from sales lift, Clairol will base the success of the campaign on its ability to drive increased online search and web traffic, as well as positive customer sentiment and TikTok engagement.
“The importance of self-expression will only grow. And it’s important to recognize that hair color, while functional, is also a powerful signal and reflection of someone’s [sense of] self,” said Pantel. “As a brand, we must make sure we listen, learn and remain relevant.”