Shiseido has launched a campaign for its Tsubaki shampoo in Japan that takes the brand in a new, more down-to-earth direction.
The work was developed by Wieden+Kennedy Tokyo, which Shiseido appointed late last year. In contrast to past campaigns that have emphasised glamour, the focus here is on simplicity and purity.
A minute-long film features a young woman going about her daily business, which of course includes a haircare routine. It doesn’t dwell on that, but makes the point that healthy hair is an essential part of life. A shorter (15-second) spot focuses on the natural ingredients of the product.
Tsubaki is known for going against the norms of its sector. Launched in 2006, it made waves the following year with a big-budget campaign celebrating Japanese aesthetics under the slogan ‘Japanese women are beautiful’.
The approach helped Tsubaki gain market leadership over competitors that typically used blonde, Western models. The positioning has endured and served the brand well, although the message has not been as strong in recent work. A TV campaign from 2016, for example, had celebrity protagonists faux-shooting amorous gorillas and wolves in forest settings.
Campaign’s view: The aesthetics of the new campaign are a notable departure from past work and easier for the average person to relate to. The style might be too pared-down for some tastes, and you could argue that a touch of glamour is never a bad thing.
On the other hand, shampoo and cosmetics ads in Japan tend to follow the same formula to such an extent that they all blur together. In that respect, this work returns Tsubaki to its roots by setting the brand on its own path and celebrating the beauty of the individual in an honest, straightforward manner.