Gillette: advertising on human hair

Gillette are going against the grain (not to be recommended when actually shaving), side-stepping the usual rallying advertising cry of “make the logo bigger”, by actually shrinking their logo down much smaller, to the size of a human hair. Literally.

To achieve this they needed two things, a willing volunteer to freshly shave his face and that less than standard bathroom accessory, an Electron microscope.

Roping in Christopher Parmenter, a research officer in cryogenic electron microscopy at Nottingham University, the brand placed actual hairs under the microscope and etched their ad directly onto the follicles themselves by blasting it with ions. Thereby creating the world’s smallest ever ad campaign (currently being verified by the Guinness Book of Records). Each ad is less than 100 microns in size, that’s less than a tenth of a millimetre.

Now the trouble is you can’t do a lot with an ad campaign that is invisible to the human eye, so naturally the brand blew up the microscopic campaign to the size of a standard billboard in order to show off their scientific handiwork.

However, Gillette also had another slightly more quirky and befitting use for their new micro adverts.  The actual etched ads, i.e the actual hair follicles, were placed into men’s airport restrooms with QR codes attached that showcased exactly what was on the hair itself.

The whole campaign is a little too tactile and focused on the stuff we’re actually attempting to get rid off when shaving, rather than the well-groomed end product. Not to mention the slightly dubious and unpleasant association with hair found in public restrooms.

However, the QR code integration is a clever touch here though, avoiding the need to solely rely on upsized billboards. Unlike so many other QR code campaigns, this one certainly has the intrigue factor. Whether it actual got men to reach for their mobiles in a public toilet is another question entirely.

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