Marketer Has a 'Game Plan' for Reintroducing Brand

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CINCINNATI ( -- Hair stylist Vidal Sassoon has settled his suit against Procter & Gamble Co. for undisclosed terms, the two sides said in a joint release late yesterday.

Revitalize the brand 'somehow'
The suit had sought hundreds of millions

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'They Systematically Decimated My Brand,' He Alleges
of dollars in damages from P&G and restoration of marketing rights Mr. Sassoon had licensed to P&G to sell hair-care products bearing his name globally. A spokesman for Mr. Sassoon would not comment on other aspects of the settlement, but said P&G would retain the license and "ostensibly work on reintroducing or revitalizing [the brand] somehow."

"We definitely have a game plan in place for the brand," a P&G spokeswoman said. "We're looking at all regions, including re-entering the U.S. and Europe again."

The case had been set for an Oct. 13 trial date in U.S. District Court for Southern California.

Mr. Sassoon filed suit against P&G in April 2003, three months after P&G said it was discontinuing the brand in North America and Western Europe because of declining sales. It remains a leading brand in some Asian markets.

Allegedly starved the brand
In his suit, Mr. Sassoon alleged P&G had systematically starved his brand of marketing support in favor of expanding Pantene in order to avoid the expense of paying him royalties following its acquisition of both brands in its takeover of Richardson-Vicks in 1985. P&G had once promised to make Vidal Sassoon a $1 billion brand, the suit said.

Sales of Vidal Sassoon hair care products in the U.S. plummeted from a high of $344 million in 1992 to $56 million in 2002, according to a statement last month by Mr. Sassoon.

Ad spending
But the decline didn't appear due to lack of trying. According to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR, P&G spent $38 million in measured media in 2000 and 2001, in a campaign from Publicis Groupe's Leo Burnett USA, to restage the brand as being more upscale that ended up roughly halving its sales.

P&G executives have said privately and publicly that the Vidal Sassoon brand retains strong consumer recognition and may be relaunched in some form in markets where it was discontinued.

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