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L'Oreal believes it broke new ground in the $650 million hair-coloring category with Casting Tone on Tone.

For starters, Casting is positioned between the fashion and gray-coverage segments, recognizing the need women-particularly aging baby boomers-have for a gentler but longer-lasting coloring. It's meant to blend a complementary tone with the hair's natural color to "brighten" hair without lightening.

"What we have done is remove the fear that women have about hair coloring, every step of the way," says Carol J. Hamilton, senior VP-marketing of L'Oreal's haircare division.

Ms. Hamilton translated the product's simplicity through every aspect of the marketing: A $15 million ad campaign via McCann-Erickson Worldwide, New York; packaging that clearly states the product's 10 benefits; a mall demonstration program; and coupons that enable consumers to try Casting free.

"We found that 40% of the women who tried Casting were first-time [hair color] users," Ms. Hamilton says. "Giving them as much information as we could ... through demonstrations, package instructions, samples ... For the first time, we're turning hair color into an impulse item!"

The campaign made Casting the No.*1 ad spender in the category and the fourth-largest hair color brand, with a 5% share, by the end of 1993, according to Nielsen Marketing Research.

Through May, Casting had gained another 5 percentage points, and the potential has yet to be reached, says Ms. Hamilton, 42.

"We're in a relaunch mode, wanting to double the business in 1994, and double it again in 1995," Ms. Hamilton says. "We're just beginning to scratch the surface."

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