New TV, Internet and Surfside Salon Projects Follow Best-Selling Book Deal

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BUENOS AIRES, Argentina -- As it continues to expand its entertainment-based promotions for Sedal hair-care products in Argentina, Unilever has launched a blog, produced a three-minute TV series and set up a surfside salon at one of the country's most popular beaches.
Working with the world's largest Spanish-language book publisher, Unilever created a best-selling book that promotes its hair products.

The moves come as the packaged goods giant plays the role of a branded entertainment pioneer in this South American nation where it markets Sedal, a product line aimed at 18- to 45-year-old women. Its innovative efforts have even included a branded entertainment arrangement with the world's largest Spanish-language book publishing company, a deal that resulted in a best-selling title here.

TV series and blog

The latest TV series tells the story of three young women on a road trip during the January-February summer. They go to the beach, hit nightclubs and meet boys. Each episode airs in prime time on major broadcast and cable networks. The women also keep a diary of their travels on a blog, www.diariosedal.com.ar, the first for Sedal in Argentina and one of the first for marketing in the country.

The series used unknown actresses for the series, not celebrities with lifestyles that can be "impossible to achieve," said Silvia Maggiani, VP of Urban PR, a Buenos Aires public relations firm that created the series based on an idea by local branding agency Tamura.

Another initiative is the creation of a Sedal salon at Playa Sedal, a sponsored beach in Mar del Plata, a popular destination during the busy January through February summer holidays; women can try Sedal products and get free haircuts and styling by a top stylist.

"The idea is to show all the fun of summer and construct a long-term relationship with our target, to live an experience together with them," said Federico Rubinstein, brand manager of Sedal in Argentina.

The campaign was created by WPP Group's JWT Argentina under the tagline "Deja que la vida te despeine," which translates to "Let life mess up your hair." Interpublic Group of Cos.' Initiative Media, Buenos Aires, is handling media buying and planning.

Publishes hair-care magazine

Last summer it developed a micro-series about hairstylists scouring Argentina for the best hair. It published Sedal Mag, a quarterly magazine about hair care full of glossy photos, stories on fashion, interviews with celebrities and brand mentions.
Working with the world's largest Spanish-language book publisher, Unilever created a best-selling book that promotes its hair products.

In 2003, it created a series of short films for TV to generate buzz for its Sedal Pro-Color line of hair-coloring products. The creative directors of JWT Argentina penned the scripts for the five films, which were directed by up-and-coming Argentine women filmmakers and achieved critical and popular success. Each starred a woman with her hair dyed red by Sedal Pro-Color, yet the brand is never mentioned in the films.

In last year's book deal, Unilever teamed with Spain's Grupo Planeta, the world's biggest publisher of Spanish-language books, to bring out a book based on Sedal's latest campaign. The title of the anthology of 15 short stories by female authors --"La vida te despeina" -- stems from the campaign's "Mess up your hair" tagline.

Planeta and Unilever narrowed the stories down to 12 from 100 and assigned three original stories for the book. Writers include established Argentine literary celebrities Angeles Mastretta, Marcela Serrano and Susanna Tamaro, and the cover is of a woman with her long hair swirling around in the air. The only reference to the brand is a mention in the prologue and a logo at the bottom of that page.

'A manifesto' for women

"Each story is communicating the essence of the brand," said Javier Prieto, general manager of Tamura, whose agency came up with the idea. "The book expands the platform of communication for the brand in a way that's not invasive. It shows the image of the brand without bombarding consumers with the brand. The book is much more than a logo in a publicity. It is a manifesto of how women live."

Marketing for the book was traditional, with print, outdoor and interviews with writers. Ms. Mastretta spoke about her exclusive story for the book.

Unilever declined to disclose spending on the Sedal campaign and initiatives. Mr. Rubinstein said they are taking a share of the revenue on book sales but declined to say the percentage.

"La Vida" has been a hit, ranking in the top five best-sellers since its release. Planeta has done six editions and sold 35,000 copies.

The publisher plans to work with Unilever to expand the concept to other markets for Sedal. It is already in talks or working on editions with local writers for Colombia, Mexico, Peru and Uruguay, said Gaston Etchegaray, general director of Grupo Planeta in Argentina.
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