L'Oreal Paris Goes for a Winona Ryder-Style Comeback -- with the Actor's Help
America loves a comeback—or at least L'Oréal Paris is betting it does in an ad from McCann breaking on Sunday's Golden Globe Awards on NBC. Winona Ryder, the "Stranger Things" star who's one of the biggest turnaround stories of recent Hollywood history, has been enlisted to pitch Elvive hair-care products, which are all about helping damaged hair, and a faltering brand, stage a comeback.
The ad breaks Sunday on the Golden Globe Awards on NBC, where Ryder was nominated last year for best actress in a TV series for her role in the Netflix series, 23 years after her last Golden Globe honor: best supporting actress in 1994 for "The Age of Innocence." Between those points came career and life turbulence that included a 2003 shoplifting arrest at Saks Fifth Avenue in Beverly Hills.
Damaged goods no more, Ryder is shown in the ad with flowing locks preparing for a stage appearance. "Everyone loves a comeback," the ad notes. "Damaged hair deserves one too." The ad is directed by Roman Coppola, son of Francis Ford Coppola, whose "Godfather III" film Ryder famously bailed out of during filming in 1992.
Hair-care advertising isn't usually long on storytelling, unless you appreciate the drama of split ends reuniting. McCann wanted to change that with Elvive, building an emotional story around its damage-repair promise, says Sean Bryan, co-chief creative officer of McCann, New York.
"We thought it would be great to celebrate timely comeback stories about women who are back on top of the world," says Bryan. "And there was nobody better to start with than Winona Ryder."
Longer term, Bryan says with not a little optimism, "we'd like to own the idea of comebacks in America, whether it be in sports or other areas."
Cuban-American singer songwriter Camilla Cabello and African-American actress Aja Naomi King are queued up for future Elvive advertising, and some of the focus may go to women "not in the limelight" as the campaign unfolds, he says.
L'Oréal Paris, the brand that the Elvive restage looks to revive, could use a comeback of its own: Sales were down 10 percent to $133.3 million last year, according to IRI.
But Elvive got off on the wrong foot with a December Instagram post that suggested women test whether their hair is damaged by seeing whether they encounter tugs or tangles when brushing. In a social-media universe already set on edge in the past year by a truncated version of a Dove body wash ad and a campaign aiming to take traditionally African-American-focused Shea Moisture (later acquired by Dove owner Unilever) to the broader market, the post was construed by some as a slight against women of color with naturally wavy or curly hair.