TreSemmé is leaning into a new storytelling format for its latest product collection launch.
To support the launch, TreSemmé invested in a tentpole campaign featuring a commercial with the U.S. Olympic artistic swimming team, OOH ads, a launch event in Los Angeles and a presence during NYFW at Spring Studios. Dubbed the Pro Infusion collection, the collection includes four product ranges, for volume, smoothness, curls and color-safe. The collection includes shampoo, conditioner and a multi-tasking tonic waters. The development of the collection is in response to changing attitudes toward hair. TreSemmé consumer research found that people want to wear their hair in more natural and flowing styles and textures, including curly. The mass brand is sold in major retailers like Walmart and Target.
The purpose of hiring the synchronized swim team was to draw a visual connection between the fluid, flowing appearance of hair in water and the intended effect of the TreSemmé products. Typically, Olympic swimmers wear their hair under swim caps, preventing their hair from being noticed in competition. In the commercial, a swimmer undoes her tight buns to reveal long glossy locks before all swimmers dive into the pool for their swim routine. The routine, choreographed by Parris Goebel, centers on hair-whipping movements and the physical artistry of the swimmers.
“We thought about how we could create something that wasn’t simply an advertisement that checks some media boxes, but [rather] something that would move in the culture and that people would talk about,” said Angela Mears, chief creative officer at Weber Shandwick, a media and advertising firm that developed the campaign. “[The swim team] told us that this was a campaign that tapped into the art of what they do, rather than just a normal sponsorship, and it felt like a real collaboration.”
Aside from the commercial and working with athletes, the campaign marks other departures from TreSemmé’s typical ads. The commercial will air on TV and in movie theaters during movie trailer ads. There are also product-focused commercials produced running in support of the Pro Infusion launch that are not cut downs from the film. And OOH ads will run in New York City’s Times Square and Penn Station, produced by creative agency The Salon. The OOH ads were designed to interact with one another and have 3D elements, with visuals like a swimmer approaching the screen and tapping on it to evoke the idea that the viewer is also underwater. Jessica Grigoriou, salon and masstige hair portfolio director at TreSemmé, said the brand had previously invested more in influencer and earned media while still using high-reach methods like TV ads but declined to share specifics. The campaign will run through the first half of 2023. The Unilever-owned brand is part of the conglomerate’s beauty & wellbeing sector, which earned over $11 billion in 2021 sales.
“The campaign opened [us up] to new media channels that were a match with the creative,” Grigoriou said. “It’s more connected to culture and higher-touch.”
Changes to brand storytelling is an ongoing conversation in beauty that’s been spurred by the dual interest in authenticity and the shunning of traditional function-based products and brands. According to EY research, 92% of Gen Zers indicated that being authentic and “true to oneself” is extremely or very important. That’s an increase of 16% from pre-pandemic levels. Additionally, according to a study from WP Engine, the WordPress hosting company, Gen Zers want brands to contribute to social causes, ensuring that the brand is more than just a product. TreSemmé has always tried to tap into “passion points,” said Grigoriou, including NYFW and “Project Runway.” Hence, the idea behind the Pro Infusion campaign was to show up in a different and more creative format.
“The next 10 years will be defined by a consumer generation that has never experienced advertising the way we did growing up. There is a more flexible view of what the role of a brand is versus an influencer or talent partner,” said Mears.
Despite the change and approach, the key performance indicators are relatively similar. TreSemmé looks at product sales, digital engagement, and sentimental analysis from comments and other online chatter.