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Finesse Shampoo and Conditioner and Locks of Love

Not Exactly Golden Locks

How do you target Gen Y, the 76 million [in the States] ‘Millennials’ born between 1978 and 2000? Well a cause campaign is not a bad idea because the members of Gen Y are characterized as idealistic, optimistic, honest and sincere. And they like to shop.

Few of them remember the time before the Internet and they’re the most technologically savvy generation ever. We used to say they were the most wired generation, but that’s no longer true; if I have any Gen Y readers they’re probably reading this on their cell phones.

But what kind of cause appeals to them?

United Way is for people who drive Buicks.

Susan G. Komen is for the mothers and grandmothers of Gen Y.

Make-A-Wish? You’re getting warmer.

Finesse hair shampoo and conditioner picked Locks of Love, the Lake Worth, Florida nonprofit that solicits donations of natural hair which is then manufactured into wigs and distributed to kids and adults with long-term hair loss, usually due to a condition called alopecia areata.

Locks of Love generates publicity like crazy. Their story is straightforward, emotional, and particularly well-suited for television; a kid cuts 10 inches off his or her head, puts it in bag and sends it to Locks of Love to become a wig for a bald kid. I must know half a dozen kids who are presently growing their hair out for Locks of Love or who have done so in the past.

Here’s Finesse’s campaign. A contest began July 17, 2006 to pick a model for their advertising in 2007. Entrants submitted their names and a before and after picture that shows how their “hairstyle has adjusted.” The contest doesn’t explicitly require that the entrants cut their hair for Locks of Love, but it appears that many did just that.

Finesse then invited people to vote for their favorite entrant. The contest ended March 31, 2007. Finesse will name the winner on May 15 from among 10 finalists. Finesse will donate $1 to Locks of Love for every contest entry it received. I may be reading it wrong, but it looks like a grand total of 923 people entered the contest. If that’s the case Finesse isn’t exactly going to have to crack open the corporate vault for Locks of Love.

I like the promotion, but it seems half-hearted. I hope I’m wrong about the donation amount. But whether I am or not, they should have based the donation on the votes, not the entries. To make that worth their while they could have used the voting mechanism to generate usable information like a registration that collected names and email. Or they could have asked a short list of survey questions. They could have provide means for the contest entrants to email their friends as apart of the registration process.

And where’s Finesse on MySpace, YouTube or any of the social media so popular with kids? Why wouldn’t they encourage entrants… if they cut their hair for Locks of Love… to film it and put it on YouTube?

If Finesse tries this contest in 2007-8, there's a number of improvements that could be made.


gcw said…
Good call, man... and what this tells me right off the bat is the good people driving the ad campaign(s) for Finesse are still trying to get a handle on the true nature of the lifestyles they're trying to affect. This makes me wonder if the ad folks are all that well versed in the population they're product is targeting. Maybe they should have done a little more focus work with Gen Y groups before sinking all the casheesh into a campaign that essentially went nowhere. Were they hoping that emotion would make up for a lack of planning? Or maybe they should have a couple of Gen Ys on their ad staff. Nah...

Oh, and I'll tell you something else... Our local Cancer Society does a lot better than Finesse when it comes to Locks of Love. One of my best friends has four daughters with gorgeous hair who have all donated several times locally over the years. Finesse is a day late and a dollar short tapping into this campaign on a national level when local groups have been doing it for the past 10 years or so with greater success.

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