Saturday, May 04, 2002

P&G to 'restage' Clairol brand

By Cliff Peale
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Sales of Clairol hair care products have dropped about 5 percent during its integration into Procter & Gamble Co. Now, P&G is preparing to invest big dollars to restart the business.

        Cincinnati-based P&G will reinvest all of its media savings from the purchase into new marketing on Clairol brands such as Herbal Essences and Nice 'n Easy, said Rob Matteucci, who managed the transition for P&G and now heads the company's combined hair-color business.

        “These brands will be a priority,” he told a group of investors and analysts in New York.

        The strategy also could include selling some of the smaller Clairol brands that were acquired late last year in the $4.95 billion deal, Mr. Matteucci said.

        Both moves would follow P&G's practice of the last two years of pruning noncore brands and pouring marketing and development dollars into its biggest brands and biggest countries.

        The strategy has worked with P&G's two biggest hair-care brands, Pantene and Head & Shoulders. Both have undergone a major “restaging,” with new packaging, formulas and retail strategies.

        Mr. Matteucci said more is coming with Clairol. He outlined three steps:

        • Adding conditioning technology to Clairol's hair coloring brands.

        Consumer research shows that the No. 1 reason women don't color their hair is fear of damaging it, he said.

        • Changing store displays.

        P&G has revitalized displays for its cosmetics brands because many consumers choose what brand to buy while standing at the store shelf, he said.

        • Leveraging global resources.

        While three-quarters of Clairol's hair-color business is in North America, three-quarters of P&G's hair-care business is international, he said, presenting an obvious expansion opportunity.


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