Tuesday, September 28

The Dandruff Wars

An interesting situation is occurring in the war on dandruff. At least interesting to me! I always say that marketing is a spectator sport, and I love watching brands compete against each other.

Enter Head & Shoulders, perhaps the undisputed king of dandruff shampoos. Quite a following with men, but never considered much of a brand for women. A new campaign this year, however, specifically targets women and focuses more on the hair than on the dandruff. When talking with women, makes a lot of sense, because they are into their hair. And from a business stand point, expanding the brand by trying to get women into the franchise does make sense.

On the other side of the spectrum is Garnier Fructis, clearly a hair care brand for women. For beautiful women with beautiful hair (ala Sarah Jessica Parker). The brand just introduced a new product for ... dandruff! And the new advertising features ... a guy! A guy playing football.

Holy turn around! A great way to expand that brand as well.

But here's the rub in both cases. Brand expansions like these only work if they are consistent with the brand equity and don't confuse current consumers. A beautiful hair care brand for women that now has a dandruff shampoo for men? Another hair care brand that for years has been helping men with dandruff now talking to women about beautiful hair?

I'm not saying that it can't work, because clearly both of these brands are experts in hair care and have the ability to expand. It's just that their equities are so firmly entrenched (which is a good thing), that consumers may find it hard to embrace. It'll be fun to watch.

What's your experience? Jim

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