PHD Canada and Capital C: Hairapy – Sunsilk, Unilever Canada

The Hairapy campaign surely splits from the hackneyed hair care formula. The brand knows its audience intimately, and speaks to her in a sassy and consistent way across all platforms. The Sunsilk launch last June was one of the biggest ever for Unilever and showcases the importance of creative and media working together seamlessly - a feat in itself.

The Hairapy campaign surely splits from the hackneyed hair care formula. The brand knows its audience intimately, and speaks to her in a sassy and consistent way across all platforms. The Sunsilk launch last June was one of the biggest ever for Unilever and showcases the importance of creative and media working together seamlessly – a feat in itself.

Scott Henderson, account director at PHD, says the reason the Sunsilk campaign has been performing so well is it focuses on the real reason women buy hair products – to deal with problem hair. And in the real world, women don’t believe products can transform their looks or life in a few minutes. ‘The brand speaks to the target in a way that’s very different from the competition,’ explains Henderson.

2007 is shaping up to be another successful (and sensational) year for the brand, with all the attention the ubiquitous ‘Bride Has Massive Hair Wig Out’ viral has been getting across North America and beyond. Unlike attempts by other marketers, this bridezilla meltdown posted to YouTube on Jan. 19 contains no faux endorsements -it’s pure entertainment with no mention of brand. Originally intended to seed the notion of ‘wigout,’ a term used in the new Sunsilk spots, by Feb. 1 it had 2.8 million views. The effort by Capital C has been a topic of conversation in virtually every medium, appearing everywhere from Good Morning America and Canada AM to CNN, Dr. Phil, and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Not bad for a $3,000 investment.

Goal

To launch a new hair care line to young women, which meant to interest a jaded, fickle, media-saturated audience in an already cluttered category.

Target consumer

* 20- to 30-year-old females

Insights and strategy

Competitive brands wrote the rules for the category. They promise plastic-perfection or speak in scientific tones. The strategy was to counter the plastic glamour and offer Hairapy – hair therapy – that talks the way she talks and goes where she goes. The mandate of the Sunsilk brand team: let’s veer away from the cliché and put beauty and fun back together.

Consumer touchpoints

* TV vignettes, 30- and 15-second spots * PR * ASPs * In-store * Sampling * Mini-magazine * Cinema ads * Online and viral

Execution

On TV, PHD delivered the Hairapy message via eight 60-second Washroom Dramas produced by Global TV, featuring a realistic look at four girlfriends as they divulge their hair and life dramas in the washrooms of their favourite hangouts. Created as engaging, original content rather than advertising, the vignettes aired in two flights of four weeks in July and September 2006 within CanWest programming.

In July, each vignette was followed by a 30-second brand spot and in September,

15-second spots. During the run, the brand spots also appeared on other networks. Both execution lengths are currently being rotated again in shows skewed to young women. CanWest produced the Washroom Dramas while the US-made creative for the brand spots came from JWT. Over at MuchMusic, Sunsilk had a Hairapy microsite and sponsorship of Video on Trial, featuring the Much ‘Hairapy Guy’ Trevor Boris talking up the brand.

Further integration came from promotions and retail partnerships put together by Capital C. Fourteen unique account-specific promotions were created with Shoppers Drug Mart, Wal-Mart, Costco, Sobeys, Loblaws, Safeway, Co-Op, Jean Coutu and Overwaitea. For instance, cinema ads co-branded with Wal-Mart drove the target to the store to visit with the Hairapy Guys who diagnosed hair problems and gave out samples. A contest with Jean Coutu awarded the winner Vespas.

To stimulate trial, La Senza, Shoe Company and HMV gave out Sunsilk mini-mags and samples. Retail marketing included displays with signage that asked: ‘Hair poofier than a prom dress?’ or ‘Hair dry as morning mouth?’. A whopping 560,000 copies (both English and French) of a digest-sized version of the Hairapy mag co-branded with Shoppers were distributed with LouLou, Flare, Glow and Eclat magazines, and direct mail to the Shoppers Optimum database. Cap C created the hairmags and PHD handled the co-distribution with the pubs.

Online, ads and video were integrated into celebrity gossip, fashion and beauty websites. The ads placed by PHD were created by JWT and Capital C. As well, gethairapy.ca developed by Capital C showcases the latest in fashion, hair care tips, and includes forums for dishing the drama in life – hair or otherwise.

Results

Sales exceeded forecast and after five weeks, distribution almost achieved the 12-month goal.

Credits

PHD

Scott Henderson, account director; Michael Bolt, VP client services director; Caroline Moul, digital media strategist

Capital C

Bennett Klein, CD; Susan James, business leader; Sheri Allain, account director; Julia Kwiecinski, account manager; Jane Klein, CD; Kjirsten Georgison, ACD; Keith Prestwich, copywriter; Danica Bastidas, interactive account supervisor; James Fraser, MD retail

Unilever

Sandra Davies, marketing director, hair care; Jillian McLaughlin, former brand building manager; Sheila Borsodi, associate brand building manager