Procter & Gamble is launching a sort of online personality test called HairCode

HairCode links people with similar types of tresses

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Credit: P&G

Procter & Gamble Co. is launching a sort of online personality test called HairCode. It aims to match people to its roughly 120 products by hair type, and to connect those types to each other on social networks. (So people with fine, wavy hair, say, can share things like styling tips.)

The site gets a media push in North America starting this week on Facebook and Instagram.

HairCode illustrates how P&G is trying to do more of its marketing faster, with precision targeting based on first-party data—like the direct-to-consumer marketers that are now making inroads into its categories.

It's the brainchild of Bret Senior, Pantene associate brand manager, and Aaron Gilani, associate manager for Consumer Market Knowledge on Old Spice.

After senior executives funded the idea, a team of six, including people in R&D, brought HairCode.com to market in about eight weeks, says Senior.

HairCode quizzes people about things like hair type, styling needs, facial hair, and product and ingredient preferences, and classifies them into 24 "hair personalities" with 144 permutations. It then matches people to P&G products sold online by Amazon, Target and Walmart, among others. It also connects users via social networks and generates data for future ad targeting.

"We essentially take broad data and map behavior patterns to create lookalike smart audiences to better target our portfolio's ads," says Senior.

HairCode is starting entirely with "internal resources," says Susan Cavanaugh, hair-care media brand manager and part of the team. "As we get bigger, we'll integrate it into some of our base-business media planning we use Carat for."

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