The Japanese hair care market is the most advanced in the region and, as a result, highly competitive. A well recognised brand in most major markets, Vidal Sassoon faced a tough challenge in Japan from domestic shampoo and cosmetics giants Kao and Shiseido, as well as Procter & Gamble. It set out to raise its profile in the market and take consumer awareness to the next level. In particular, the aim was to give a clear purpose to the shampoo and increase its status as an aspirational brand among young, urban Japanese women, defined as fashion seekers and 'beauty junkies', who want to look their best at all times around town.
Developed alongisde Beacon Communications, the campaign focused on three of the target group's key interests: fashion, music and hair care. The agency went back to the roots of the brand, uncovering the story of Vidal Sassoon himself, who in the early 60s was connected with the Beatles and Mary Quant. This served as the inspiration to create a contemporary story around the purpose of a brand that leads the trend by fusing the three compnents: Vidal Sassoon=Fashion x Music x VS.
To bring the concept alive, the brand enlisted leading forces from these three fields: iconic Japanese singer Namie Amuro for the music; renowned New York stylist Patricia Field for the fashion; and influential hair guru Orlando Pita for the hair. The campaign began with three MTV premier videos starring Amuro (styled by Field and Pita) in three looks from the 60s, 70s and 80s. The videos were also incorporated into a TVC. This was followed by a roll-out across print, outdoor, digital, retail activation and event media.
The campaign resulted in double-digit growth over a two-year period that covered the worst economic crisis since the great depression, amid fierce competition within the category traditionally led by domestic brands.
This article was originally published as part of the 2010 Top 1000 Brands report.