CLAIROL RECASTS DAILY DEFENSE AS ACTION HERO IN NEW TV EFFORT: 'ARMAGEDDON' CREW PRODUCED HAIRCARE WORK

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Clairol will blow up buildings to sell shampoo.

On May 3, the Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. unit breaks a new campaign for its Daily Defense line, with a TV spot from one of the filmmakers behind last year's action hit "Armageddon."

The commercial -- a 30-second action movie called "Chase" -- is the centerpiece of a TV and print effort designed to broaden the appeal of the 20-month-old shampoo line.

It was directed by Ken Bates, who did action sequences in "Armageddon" and used many of the same crew for the Clairol shoot.

NOT YOUR AVERAGE SHAMPOO SPOT

"It's definitely not your average shampoo commercial," said Robin Koval, exec VP of agency Kaplan Thaler Group, New York.

Print ads will break later and will follow the same approach, copying the look of movie posters, she said.

The campaign broadens the "haircare for the real world" focus Clairol used to launch the shampoo, Ms. Koval said. While the initial advertising focused on Daily Defense's protection against the elements -- such as pollution and sun damage -- the new work touts the brand as protection against all kinds of "everyday stress."

The broader focus came from research that showed women define hair protection very broadly, said Group Product Manager Karen Strauss, who added that women worry about damage from all sources, even a toddler pulling at their hair.

'DEFEND YOURSELF'

In the commercial, the heroine escapes the mayhem, dusts herself off and walks away, deadpanning the tagline "Defend yourself."

Clairol wouldn't disclose spending, but Ms. Strauss said it will be comparable to that put behind 1998 efforts. Clairol put $21 million into measured media support for the brand last year, according to Competitive Media Reporting.

Daily Defense has gotten off to a modest start since its September 1997 launch. It was the 11th-ranked brand in the $1.69 billion shampoo category for the 52 weeks ended March 28, with a 2% share, according to Information Resources Inc.

The marketer's Herbal Essences brand has been its big winner, going from 2% of the segment in 1995 to 10.1% by the end of 1998, the result of a complete makeover. It's now second only to Procter & Gamble Co.'s Pantene, according to IRI.

HELENE CURTIS' THERMASILK

Unilever's Helene Curtis also has scored with Thermasilk, another line designed to protect hair from styling damage. Launched in February 1998, it now ranks seventh with a 3.54% market share.

Daily Defense's new campaign, Ms. Strauss said, is not a reaction to Thermasilk's success.

According to Clairol VP-Creative John Leslie, the new action-chase spot is a fun approach for those consumers tired of celebrity and fashion-model endorsers.

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