Vidal Sassoon is already P&G's premium hair care line, "but our consumers are heavily involved in beauty. They don't only look at hair styles, but at the combination of hair styles with their overall look, including fashion and make-up. We think a stronger link with fashion is a brand enhancement, especially in China," said Kitty Shum, P&G's senior director, external relations, beauty care in Guangzhou.
Through a partnership with Izzue, a fashion brand owned by the Hong Kong conglomerate I.T, P&G has launched the 2009 Spring/Summer Look of the Season.
The first in a series of upcoming collections, the Look of the Season is inspired by deconstructionist architecture, a style that has gained traction in China, most notably with China Central Television's new headquarters in Beijing, designed by the Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas. The new collection promotes a style described by P&G as "deconstructionist hair" and "deconstructionist fashion."
The "Inspirations" campaign offers style-conscious Chinese women "a total look to capture the attention and imagination of its customers," said Eddie Booth, Leo Burnett's chairman, Greater China in Hong Kong.
P&G is promoting the collection with an ad campaign called "Inspirations" launched in early March 2009. Rather than focus on technical and functional hair benefits, the ads, created by Leo Burnett, Guangzhou, show fashionable looks for the season as well as Vidal Sassoon tools used to create them.
The campaign also shows P&G's revamped Vidal Sassoon bottle designs, packaging and new products such as an upgraded formula that removes frizz and split-ends.
Ads will run in TV, print, outdoor and online media for the next six months, supported by events such as a "deconstruction" fashion show at the Vidal Sassoon Academy in Shanghai and hair styling events at 798 Space, an artist community housed in decommissioned military factory buildings in Beijing.
Youku.com, one of China's leading online video sites, was invited to the 798 event "to do interviews and feature these online," said Alfonso De Dios, P&G's associate director, Media, Greater China in Guangzhou. "We had great results for the event."
P&G has also created a dedicated Vidal Sassoon Chinese web site, www.vs.com.cn, created by Leo Burnett's direct marketing arm Arc Worldwide. WPP's Mediacom handled communications planning for campaign, including online marketing, while tactical planning and buying was handled by P&G's media agency-of-record, Publicis Groupe's Starcom. Public relations was handled by Interpublic Group of Cos.' Weber Shandwick.
In the fall, P&G will unveil the next collection of avant-garde hairstyle collections as well as more complementary products ranging from clothes and makeup to fragrance and nail colors "to help consumers maximize their beauty in the most fashionable looks of the season," Mr. Shum said.
The "Inspirations" campaign leverages P&G's Vidal Sassoon Academy, whose creative directors help develop the collections.
P&G introduced Vidal Sassoon's fashion-oriented look in Japan, where the brand is promoted through a combination of fashion and music, Ms. Shum said. "We're not using music so far in China. First we want to establish the leadership of Vidal Sassoon in fashion and style in China."
"We're always looking for globalize campaigns for a brand like Vidal Sassoon. The Japan campaigns works for China too. Whether it becomes a global campaign remains to be seen, but right now, it's not necessarily being carried around the globe," said Antoni d'Esterre, Leo Burnett's Hong Kong-based global brand director for Vidal Sassoon and Rejoice.
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