John Frieda: Dye another day

Big production cinematic ad campaigns used to be the reserve of high end automotive and perfume brands. However, as more and more brands grasp the entertainment mantle, the micro movie activation concept is being rolled out to add a glossy sheen to even the most mundane of consumer products.

Take dying your hair for instance. Traditionally hair dye ads have focused directly on the full-colour vibrant swishing hair formula used since time immoral by shampoo brands. Short on story, short on emotion, heavy on product benefits.

John Frieda, however, is stepping out from the somewhat lifeless haircare promotion cycle with a bold new campaign featuring actress Katie Holmes, that positions their new precision foam colour dye at the heart of a Film Noire style movie event.

The brand has developed a short film, entitled ‘The Decision’ which sees Katie playing the part of Joan Hudson, an iconic actress who has dramatically split from her colourist in order to dye her hair herself.

The premise sounds ridiculous on paper, yet the short film – which had a NYC red carpet premiere, much like a real movie – is delivered with the style and production quality we have become used to from more hardened cinematic advertisers, such as Dior.  In fact there are many similarities to Dior’s recent handbag campaign staring French actress Marion Cotillard, such as the Film Noire traits (shot in black & white, lots of shots of splintered mirrors and shatter glass, etc). An accompanying teaser promotion on Facebook even centred around the tag line “what’s in the bag?” fooling some into believing it was a handbag promotion for Valextra.

The campaign launched with a major competition inviting viewers of the film's trailer to guess what was in the bag for a chance to net $20,000 and a round trip to anywhere. The Facebook link ultimately leading to a hair dye trial sample offer for everyone else.

Although somewhat derivative this campaign manages to achieve two key things to its credit. It positions the brand as high end, alongside its couture counterparts, with its use of iconic movie references and its red carpet reveal.  However, it’s the use of Katie Holmes - more famous for being a mother than an actress these days – that centres the brand as an accessible luxury product for the everyday women.

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