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The Crossover

By: Jeff Falk
Posted: August 3, 2010, from the August 2010 issue of GCI Magazine.

When I opened the document to begin writing this column, I wondered—as I often do—if I had anything to say. And, as I also often do, I took steps to procrastinate, headed to the break room and heated my morning oatmeal. As I waited, I began pulling apart the sections of The Wall Street Journal and came across the front page of the June 30, 2010, “Personal Journal,” which featured a photo of model Kelly LeBrock with huge hair and a caption imploring me not to hate her because she’s beautiful. (How could I? I’ll always remember her for her acting work in Weird Science.) The image was from a Pantene marketing campaign from the 1980s, and it was the centerpiece of the Journal’s feature, subheaded: “In the Lab as Procter & Gamble Tries to Figure Out Pantene, Fickle Shampoo Shoppers and Other Marketing Mysteries.”

The feature explored the hair/mood connection, noting P&G “mobilized its market researchers to scientifically define those infinitely varied unhappy days when a woman’s hair has gone rogue.” Further, utilizing research that compared multiple Pantene-user groups in the P&G test data, a Yale University professor of psychology found insight into how the shampoo and conditioner formulas might affect someone’s emotional state.

In addition to the interesting premise and insight on the fickle nature of consumers in regard to their hair and hair care products, it further reinforced, explicitly, the crossover between marketing and R&D that is imperative for the type of success brand owners can hang their hats on, as well as that we all must seek new opportunities for marketing and R&D collaborations.