On Monday, Conair launched a new cordless curling device, the first of three cordless products, designed to reach Gen Z and young millennial consumers.
The curler, called Unbound Cordless Auto Curler, which sells for $99.99, will be followed up by the launch of a 2-in-1 styler and a straightener by December. All of the these products will be sold through partners like CVS, Ulta, Best Buy and Amazon. As the hair tools category has faced more interest from upstarts like Dyson, Kristen Ess, and even Sophia Wojczak, the granddaughter of Conair’s founder, the 60-year-old company is looking for ways it can stay top of mind.
Conair’s female customers are working longer hours, caring for families and doing more work around the house than in previous years, according to the American Time Use Survey from the Department of Labor. Thus, the brand wants to create products that are better suited for their busy and often traveling lifestyles.
According to Robin Linsley, Conair vp of marketing, four years ago, over 50% of women were straightening their hair, but that trend has now transitioned.
“A lot of times, people like to change their hairstyle from day to night,” said Linsley. “If you look at trends today, it’s all about soft glam and natural texture.”
Linsley said Conair’s target demographic is “all women,” but this is not the first time the brand has tried to appeal to a younger segment. In 2016, Conair launched its Virtual Hairstyle Makeover Tool in conjunction with ModiFace, plus it’s developed touch-and-feel displays where customers can pick up and “play” with its selection of styling tools.
But as new entrants such as Dyson have entered the market and Revlon has found viral fame with its hairdryer-curling device, Conair is trying to take a unique approach by appealing to the lifestyle element of customers. For example, the brand will launch miniature versions of the Unbound collection products in the first quarter of 2020, to be travel-friendly. Unbound also will be the first collection that features a second, more tech-focused element that will launch in six months, although Linsley declined to elaborate.
“When you are targeting Gen Z and millennials, you have to keep in mind they have tech at their fingertips and there isn’t a lot of brand loyalty. You have to deliver what you are promising,” she said.
In the lead up to the holidays, Conair will be embracing a multi-channel campaign, including a Times Square billboard from Nov. 20 to Dec. 20, followed by national television ads and radio ads in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and Miami. It will also be working with 15 paid micro- and macro-influencers like Cristin Cooper (@cristincooper, 107,000 Instagram followers) and Rachael Martino (@rachmartino, 346,000 Instagram followers) across Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook.
For the first time, the brand will also be engaging in Amazon ads, including keyword ad searches, sponsored products and ad banners. Conair declined to site any financial or investment figures, only saying that the company spent more on marketing than any of it its competitors, with the exception of Dyson, said Paulette Heller, Conair vp of marketing. According to sales software company Media Radar, Conair spent less than $100 million on digital, print and national TV advertising in the last year. In July, Conair relaunched its Amazon storefront with advertising agency partner Scrum50, to focus on health, beauty and hair appliances.
“Customers use Amazon as a source for research prior to a purchase decision, and the Gen Z and millennial generations like to read reviews,” said Linsley. “We live in a social world where everyone wants information quickly and accurately.”