AD WAVE FOR VIDAL SASSOON

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Procter & Gamble Co. is trying to put the bounce back into its 30-year-old Vidal Sassoon haircare brand with a $46 million marketing campaign highlighted by heavy network TV spending and the company's largest one-time sampling drive.

The U.S. relaunch, part of a $100 million-plus worldwide effort due for completion by July 1995, comes as the once high-flying brand's market share continues to slide in the U.S.

In 1993, Sassoon's conditioner share was 2.9%, down from 3.3% in 1992, according to PaineWebber, while its Ultra Care two-in-one shampoo slid to 1.7% from 2.5% and its regular shampoos dropped to 1.8% from 2.1%.

That's a far cry from 1981, when Sassoon's conditioners held a hefty 12.4% share and shampoos a 5.3%, said PaineWebber analyst Andrew Shore, who still believes the brand has legs to stand on if sufficiently propped up.

Famed hair stylist and salon owner Vidal Sassoon-long ago a star in his haircare advertising, where he made the line "If you don't look good, we don't look good" famous-will return to the airwaves, though this time it will be mainly his voice-over that's present.

Advertising themed "Expert of experts," and set against the backdrop of a fashion show, breaks in April from Tatham Euro RSCG, Chicago, in the form of 15-second teasers. Thirty-second spots and a magazine campaign will follow later this spring.

In July, P&G will also mail samples to 23 million households, about 25% of all U.S. homes, to signal a makeover that includes a switch to red from brown packaging.

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