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Case Study: Reviving Personal Care Brands

By: Miriam Quart
Posted: March 8, 2011, from the March 2011 issue of GCI Magazine.

Every brand faces a universal challenge: how to connect with consumers in a meaningful way. For Pert Plus and Sure, the objective was the same in that both brands maintained a considerable level of consumer loyalty but had fallen off the advertising landscape. Madison Avenue Consortium was charged to revive these brands by reconnecting them with lapsed users to elevate brand relevancy in a cluttered category.

After having virtually no advertising support in several years, the task at hand involved creating fresh, relatable ad campaigns that underscored each brand’s value. Both campaigns set to link each brand directly with its benefits, by re-establishing brand personalities for products that offer effective, no-nonsense results for busy people. The agency was able to capitalize on reviving these brands in a downturning economy by playing up the “nostalgic” aspect of Pert Plus and Sure in order to engage today’s consumers—who were young when these products were in their heyday. These nostalgic brands hold a key asset: recognition.

Bringing back the Plus in Pert Plus

Pert Plus, which launched in 1987, is among the pioneers in 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioners, and enjoyed great success as a dominant hair care brand in the mid 1990s. While the brand had virtually no advertising support for five years, Pert Plus maintained high brand awareness numbers with a strong, loyal consumer following.

Today, the hair care category is an unlevel playing field with an explosion of product lines that answer every hair need—for different hair types (dry, frizzy, oily), hair colors (brunette, blonde, red), genders and ages (anti-aging). Within the 2-in-1 category, existing brands have since introduced 2-in-1 lines (notably Pantene) that widen the breadth of the product offerings, creating an endless number of options for hair care consumers. A communications platform was developed to reconnect lapsed users who once grew up with the Pert Plus brand in their households, while also introducing new users to the brand. In a category that speaks mostly to women, the agency seized the opportunity to talk to families about a trusted (affordable) and effective hair care brand in a fun, modern way by positioning dad as the hero.