Revival of the fittest: classic products sport new looks

Revival of the fittest: classic products sport new looks – Procter and Gamble’s Head and Shoulders

NEW YORK — Procter & Gamble’s Head & Shoulders, the venerable dandruff-fighting shampoo born in the 1960s, is being overhauled with new packaging and new fragrances. Seven newly reformulated shampoos will hit stores this July. The line also is being ex tended with two conditioner SKUs-extra full ness and dry scalp care.

And why would the most well-established name in dandruff shampoo choose to reinvent itself now after four decades at retail? Because just like the average Jane shopping the hair care category in general, the dandruff-suffering consumer has changed; these days form and function compete with fashion and flavor in the mind of the hair care consumer-the dandruff sufferer notwithstanding.

“We found barriers for re-entry into the category,” explained Head & Shoulders brand manager Anthony Davey. “Half of the population suffers from dry scalp or some type of dandruff, but only half of those people actually use a dandruff-fighting shampoo.” The challenge lay in reaching dandruff sufferers who resisted traditional dandruff shampoos–the solution was to reinvent Head & Shoulders to be more in step with current trends in the overall hair care category by adding cosmetic benefits.

“People have a fear that dandruff shampoo may be harsh on the scalp,” Davey added. “And they’re just not crazy about its scent. Consumers felt they were making a trade-off–dandruff-fighting shampoo vs. nice smelling hair. The consumer perception is that you can have one [or] the other [but not both],” he explained.

With the old line, Davey said consumers had to “diagnose their own hair [need]. But the new versions provide the benefit you want from the product.” The previous line included only shampoo/conditioner combinations for hair that was either fine or oily. The seven new shampoos are classic clean 2-in-1, dry scalp care, refresh, intensive treat ment, extra fullness and smooth & silky.

Pantene: User friendly hair products

The reinvention of Head & Shoulders borrows a page from the experience of its sister-brand. This perception of misdiagnosed hair type was a major reason behind the revamped Pantene line, which rolled out in September. According to Jennifer Foust, Pantene’s manager of external relations, 60 percent of women misdiagnose their hair type. “Women are not selecting the right products [for their hair type],” she said, because “most products aren’t clear in the way they present themselves.”

The new Pantene versions include a curl care formula, for example, for customers who want to enhance their curly or wavy looks. “In the past, when you designed a line based on hair type, you didn’t have [the need for] as many specialty items to create special looks. Whereas [now], if you know you’re going after a certain type of hairstyle, it takes the guessing game out of putting the proper hair care regimen together,” Foust explained. Other items in the line include Smooth & Sleek shampoo and Get It Straight smoothing cream, for achieving a straight look.

According to numbers from Information Resources Inc., it was perhaps an opportune time for P&G to breathe some new life into the Pantene line. Though IRI reported Pantene Pro V as the No. 1-selling shampoo for the 52 weeks ending March 25, 2001, the brand actually dropped 39 percent in dollar sales through food/ drug/mass during that period. Pantene Pro V conditioner, the No. 2-selling item according to IRI, also took a dive in sales, dropping 48 percent in the conditioner category.

So far, sales results for the new line are “encouraging,” Foust said. However, she declined to provide specific numbers.

Salon Selectives: A brave, new paradigm

Similar to the Pantene/Head & Shoulders experience, when Uni-lever introduced its revamped Salon Selectives line late last year, it set out to reposition the brand away from the category’s old “problem solution paradigm,” explained brand manager Diggi Thomson, and more toward a fun, style-oriented proposition for the consumer.

“There was a big opportunity to talk to consumers from a fun, fashion approach,” Thomson said. The new line, which is a far cry from the original line introduced in the 1980s, incorporates salon-inspired formulas, new fragrances and new packaging.

“In terms of our target [demo graphic], we’re still going after the woman on the threshold of life-one in her early to mid-20s,” Thomson said. “[But] back in the 1980s when the brand was born, it was about making it in a man’s world. Fundamentally, what has changed is that now a woman’s success is defined in her own terms. It’s not about making it in a man’s world,” he said.

The new line eschews numbers for fresh, fun names that send a clearer message to the consumer–names such as Don’t Fade On Me color protecting shampoo and Loosely Defined styling cream.

Gone is the brand’s old numerical system (for example, No. 1 shampoo for normal hair or No. 4 hair spray for extra hold) because it was confusing to today’s hair care customer.

The new line retails for $2.99 in most mass channels, marking a one-dollar increase. “We took the price up significantly because we knew we were offering better products,” Thomson added.

The higher price point has earned Salon Selectives a better spot on the shelves, he pointed out, moving closer to the premium brands in the category. “We’re selling more units now than before.”

White Rain: A new look for a classic brand

For the time-honored brand White Rain, it was just time for a new look. According to Gary Raymond. the

For the time-honored brand White Rain, it was just time for a new look. According to Gary Raymond, the company’s president, the brand was “tired-looking.” More importantly, Raymond said there was an opportunity in the hair care market for White Rain to restage itself with new fragrances. The brand’s old scents, like strawberry, were mild and have become passe, he said. “Citrus is hot right now. Violet, in terms of the color and the fragrance, also has a tremendous appeal to our audience.”

White Rain went from a three-line brand to a two-line brand: The Classics, to appeal to a more mature consumer; The Naturals for a younger demographic.

The Classics collection includes two aroma-therapy scents–Energizing Citrus and Restoring Violet.

The changes have already begun paying dividends in the way of better placement at retail. “We are getting improved [retail shelf] space,” Raymond noted. “[Retailers] are starting to remove us from the bottom shelf and give us better positioning because they see what the brand is doing.” Though it’s only been roughly four months since the new White Rain line was launched, Raymond told Drug Store News the brand was already up 30 percent in sales.

The company also saw another opportunity within the hair care market–specifically within the men’s grooming segment–to relaunch its Dippity-do line of hair gel. Instead of those bright pink tubs and tubes of green gel that had been more popular among young female shoppers, the new line Dippity-do Sport is now positioned more for the active, young male. “Some guys are using gel two and three times a day,” Raymond said. “[Based on that], we think there’s a tremendous market and opportunity [for Dippity-do Sport].” Dippity-do Sport includes ultimate hold gel formula, ultimate hold spray gel, extreme hold gel and defining wax.

The effects of new packaging

Will new packaging really help drive sales for these brands? “A lot of what drives the category is what’s new,” said Carrie Bonner, a senior research analyst with Kline & Company, a consulting firm based in Little Falls, N.J. “Anything that marketers do to make their products more visible, look new and stand out can help attract customers and expand sales,” she said.

One specific example Bonner pointed to was P&G’s Olay brand. “It [emerged with new] packaging last year, and they even tweaked the name a little. The brand might be several years old, but there’s still customers who might not know it, like teens,” she explained.

However, while repackaging can certainly help turn things around for an existing brand, Bonner offered one caveat.

“If marketers change the packaging [too] drastically that it [becomes no longer] recognizable to its existing, loyal customer base,” that can hurt sales, she said. “Olay implemented subtle changes. Most [existing users] didn’t even pick up on it,” she added.

COPYRIGHT 2001 Lebhar-Friedman, Inc.

COPYRIGHT 2001 Gale Group