Unilever’s aging hair play

The company deepens its commitment to the category across two mainstream brands, after success with its more premium line.

TRES_YouthBoost_YouthfulFullness_Spray_125mLA look down the hair care aisle at any retailer can be enough to overwhelm consumers – with so many brands aiming to address a host of hair needs at varying price points. It might seem saturated, but Unilever has recently extended its dive into a new category within the segment – aging hair. But we’re not talking about products for seniors ­– its targeting women as young as in their 20s.

The Tresemmé Youth Boost lineup, aimed at women in their 20s and 30s, is geared towards early aging signs such as dryness, dullness and thinning. Meanwhile, Dove Vitality Rejuvenated, meant for women in their 30s and 40s, aims to restore essential nutrients hair loses as it ages.

Unilever discovered that hair – like skin and other parts of the body – ages, and can begin when women are in their 20s, says Jessica Grigoriou, marketing director, hair care, Unilever Canada. And early signs like dullness, dryness and thinning can just be associated with styling-related stress. It can be easy for consumers to recognize symptoms, she says, but knowing the cause and treatment could be another story. Meanwhile, hair care ranges often promote one benefit, whereas aging hair requires a multi-benefit solution, she adds.

Support for the new lines, which both hit shelves earlier this year in Canada and the U.S., has been rolling out since before launch. Media and influencers were invited to an annual launch event for the brand’s new personal care innovations last year, while in-store displays kicked off in February. A targeted sampling initiative with Shoppers Drug Mart begins next month to reach consumers who could be looking for the products based on their demo and previous purchases.

Additionally, education is important, says Grigoriou, so to support the new Dove platform, an advertorial with Unilever’s global hair care scientist will run in the April editions of major publications in Canada to educate women about aging hair’s needs.

Unilever worked with Ogilvy on creative, Mindshare on media, Integrated Marketing on shopper marketing and Harbinger for PR.

The new lines from Dove and Tresemmé come on the heels of Nexxus’ Youth Renewal launch (last year in Canada and the year prior in the U.S.), which was Unilever’s first dip into the aging hair segment.

TRES_YouthBoost_YouthfulFullness_Conditioner_266mLGrigoriou says the company wanted to venture into the uncharted waters with its salon brand first as consumers seeking salon products tend to look for ones that are innovative with advanced science and tech, in addition to a premium experience.

Given this line’s success, Unilever then expanded to its more mainstream brands with Tresemmé and Dove, targeting more specific concerns that vary across demos. Grigoriou could not share whether Unilever would develop additional products in the aging hair category in the future, but notes it will continue to look into consumer insights with its new innovations.