Swimming Pool

TreSemmé tests new storytelling format for the latest product launch

TreSemmé uses a new storytelling format to launch its latest product collection.

To support the launch, TreSemmé invested in a tentpole campaign featuring a commercial featuring the US 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 ranges for volume, smoothness, curl and color security. Each includes shampoo, conditioner and a versatile tonic water. The development of the collection is a reaction to the changing attitude towards hair. TreSemmé consumer research shows that people want to wear their hair in more natural and flowing styles and textures, including curly hair. The mass brand is sold at major retailers like Walmart and Target.

The aim of hiring the synchronized swimming team was to create a visual connection between the liquid, flowing appearance of hair in water and the intended effect of the TreSemmé products. Typically, Olympic swimmers wear their hair under swim caps to prevent their hair from being noticed in competition. In the commercial, a swimmer undoes her tight knots to reveal long lustrous locks before all the swimmers dive into the pool for their swim routine. Choreographed by Parris Goebel, the routine focuses on hair-raising moves and the physical artistry of the swimmers.

“We thought about how we could create something that isn’t just an advertisement checking some media boxes, but [rather] something that would move culture and people would talk about,” said Angela Mears, chief creative officer at Weber Shandwick, a media and advertising company that developed the campaign. “[The swim team] told us this was a campaign that unlocks the art of her work, not just regular sponsorship, and it felt like a real collaboration.”

Aside from advertising and working with athletes, the campaign marks other departures from TreSemmé’s typical ads. The commercial will air during the movie trailer promotion on TV and in cinemas. And OOH ads are running in New York’s Times Square and Penn Station. The OOH ads were designed to interact with each other and include 3D elements, with imagery such as a swimmer approaching the screen and tapping 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 influencers and earned media than in high-reach methods like TV advertising, but declined to share details. The campaign will run in the first half of 2023. Unilever’s brand is part of the conglomerate’s beauty and wellness sector, which generated over $11 billion in sales in 2021.

“The campaign is on [us up] to new media channels that matched the creative,” said Grigoriou. “It’s more related to culture and high-touch.”

Changes in brand storytelling is an ongoing conversation about beauty, fueled by a dual interest in authenticity and eschewing traditional function-based products and brands. According to an EY survey, 92% of Gen Z say being authentic and “true to yourself” is extremely or very important. That’s a 16% increase from pre-pandemic levels. Additionally, according to research by WP Engine, the WordPress hosting company, Gen Zers wants brands to contribute to social causes and ensure the brand is more than just a product. TreSemmé has always tried to tap into “passion points,” Grigoriou said, including NYFW and Project Runway. So the idea behind the Pro Infusion campaign was to present itself in a different and more creative format.

“The next 10 years will be defined by a generation of consumers who have never experienced advertising the way we grew up. There’s a more flexible way of looking at a brand’s role compared to an influencer or talent partner,” Mears said.

Despite the change and approach, the key performance indicators are relatively similar. TreSemmé covers product sales, digital engagement, and sentimental analysis from comments and other online chatter.

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