Paul Mitchell celebrates 20 years with campaign

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The Paul Mitchell brand celebrates its 20th birthday this year with a colorful makeover and new ad campaign.

The salon haircare line marketed by John Paul Mitchell Systems breaks a $5 million print and outdoor campaign in March magazines to promote its new formulas and packaging. The ads, created by in-house agency RR&J Advertising, Sebastopol, Calif., will appear in fashion and lifestyle books including Conde Nast Publications' Vogue, Allure, and GQ, Talk Media's Talk, and Time Inc.'s In Style.

"The whole thing is to project newness. The brand is 20 years old this year. We wanted to project a fresh image," said Roz Rubenstein Johnson, the agency's president.

The ads feature b&w photographs by fashion photographer Richard Avedon and the tagline, "Be brilliant." Each plugs a different product -- all newly reformulated with enhanced shine and moisturizing formulas. The models include company Chairman John Paul DeJoria and his wife Eloise, the company's longtime spokespeople.


Mr. DeJoria, who started as a consultant in the haircare industry, founded John Paul Mitchell Systems in 1980 with the late Paul Mitchell, a hairdresser. The company -- begun with one product, Hair Sculpting Lotion, and $750 in capital -- now sells 90 hair and skin care products and rings up $600 million in annual sales.

The new packaging revamps the original b&w bottles, a necessity when the company didn't have enough funds for colored ink in its start-up budget. The line's packaging is now color-coded based on the product's function. Product descriptions and instructions are written in English, Spanish and French to accommodate the company's growth, with products now distributed in 25 countries.

John Paul Mitchell Systems wanted to improve packaging to make its varied products easier to spot on the shelf, but without altering too much its distinctive look, according to Brenda DuVal, exec VP.


"You don't have to look at it too much. From across the street, you can see if a salon has Paul Mitchell," she said.

"We were very careful to hold on to things the consumer expects to see, but at the same time, modernize the package so it can be easily understood and identified."

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