Herbal Essences launches campaign for new Highlights

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Clairol Herbal Essences, the brand that turned the ho-hum chore of shampooing, into an orgasmic experience, this week begins a campaign daring consumers to streak-their hair, of course-as an introduction to Herbal Essences Highlights.

Created by Kaplan Thaler Group, New York, and executed by the agency and several sibling companies within holding company Publicis Groupe, the "Dare to Streak" campaign employs TV and print as well as less traditional media. The event marketing culminates with a private bash, dubbed "The Ultimate Streaking Party."

"Everything that is offered to consumers is something that is fun," said Linda Kaplan Thaler, CEO-chief creative officer, Kaplan Thaler Group. "If we can make washing your hair ... or highlighting your hair fun, then we have done something for humanity."

The campaign for the Procter & Gamble Co. brand is built around one concept: a streaking party. In keeping with the brand's naughty-but-nice image, the word's dual meaning is used to tease consumers. TV spots depict two men who hear about a streaking party, arrive at the door clad in trench coats only to discover the party is not the sort they'd assumed.

Younger demo

Herbal Essences Highlights is targeting very young consumers, from 10 to 24 years old. Many of the event and relationship marketing efforts extend the party concept in ways that appeal to age groups younger than those pictured in TV and print ads. A contest conducted via text-messaging will result in a select group of winners getting invited to the "Ultimate Streaking Party." This "consumer group is extremely elusive," said Paul Builter, director-events and sponsorships, Publicis' ARC Marketing. "You need to try and offer them things that are truly fun." Media spending on the entire campaign was not disclosed.

Highlighting products generally serve as "point-of-entry" items to entire brand lines, said Heidi Standhart, senior brand manager, Herbal Essences. Highlights, which began shipping in February, already has attained a 1% share of the $1.2 billion hair-color category during the most recent four-week period, said Ms. Standhart, citing data from Information Resources Inc.

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