Marketing 50

Head & Shoulders

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At 40 years old and with a commanding lead among global anti-dandruff shampoos, Head & Shoulders was a valuable brand for Procter & Gamble Co. But growing beyond that niche has meant trying a seemingly unlikely transformation into a beauty brand.

Through new scents, new conditioners and beauty-focused ads from Publicis Groupe's Saatchi & Saatchi, New York, such as a recent ad featuring Rena Sofer, a star of NBC's sitcom "Coupling," Head & Shoulders saw double-digit sales growth in the U.S. in 2001 and 2002. It's seen double-digit sales growth globally in P&G's past two fiscal years, ended June 30. In the current fiscal year, Head & Shoulders' goal is to become P&G's 15th billion-dollar global brand.

Amid a brutally competitive 2003, with major brand launches from Unilever's Dove and L'Oreal's Garnier Fructis and a new anti-dandruff offering from Suave for Men, Head & Shoulders still gained U.S. share, with sales of $134.3 million for the 52 weeks ended Oct. 5, according to Information Resources Inc.

"Today's Head & Shoulders is not your father's shampoo," says Diana Shaheen, 39, global marketing director for haircare, whose duties include Head & Shoulders. Ms. Shaheen was also part of the teams that launched Aleve, the prescription analgesic, as well as Physique, the upscale haircare brand.

The key barrier to more consumers using Head & Shoulders was the idea that it was only for people with dandruff. So ads refocused on the broader problem of "dry, itchy scalp" affecting about half of the population, and it adopted a strategy of having new-product, conceptual or advertising news twice a year.

"We are in the beauty business," Ms. Shaheen says. "We are not this niche dandruff player. And beauty is about having news for our consumer every six months."

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