P&G launches Pantene CSR campaign

CINCINNATI, OH: Procter & Gamble is rolling out its Pantene Beautiful Lengths campaign today backed by a PR push starting this morning on NBC's Today show.

CINCINNATI, OH: Procter & Gamble is rolling out its Pantene Beautiful Lengths campaign today backed by a PR push starting this morning on NBC's Today show.

Actress Diane Lane was scheduled to appear on this morning's show to cut her hair and donate it to the Pantene campaign, which encourages people to grow, cut, and donate their hair to make wigs for women who have lost hair due to cancer treatment.

Anthony Rose, associate director of global beauty ER (external relations) at P&G, told PRWeek the Pantene Beautiful Lengths campaign is the largest PR financial investment P&G has made in Pantene. The campaign is not being used to push or introduce any specific products.

"We want to keep it non-commercial at this time and keep it pure," Rose said.

Rose said the campaign was born from an increasingly important mindset at P&G: brand awareness is no longer enough and an emotional connection has to be made with consumers in order to remain relevant to them.

Rose said DeVries Public Relations, Pantene's AOR, came up with the idea of getting involved in the fight between women and cancer.

Stephanie Smirnov, EVP DeVries Public Relations, said simply making a donation wouldn't be enough of a statement for a brand of Pantene's stature. Pantene has made a donation of $1 million to the Women's Cancer Research Fund (WCRF).

"Cause-related marketing often revolves around issues related to cancer because the numbers are so staggering," Smirnov said. "But we wanted to find a new dimension to cause-related marketing that would be unique to what Pantene has to offer. And that's what brought us to this very rich area of asking women to make one of the most personal contributions they could make."

"We created the program to form a deep, emotional bond between our consumers and Pantene," Rose said. "Increasingly, we are learning that mere awareness of the brand, its functionality, and performance are not enough. More important is how the brand can touch consumers' lives and [affect] how consumers feel about Pantene."

Pantene already has consumer support for the program throughout the US, and while Lane was scheduled to undergo a "kickoff cut" today for the campaign, so did 50 women across the country. Each are cutting and donating eight inches of their hair in a nationally coordinated wave of local market cutting events. 

Over the next six months these 50 Pantene "Hometown Ambassadors" will spread the word about the campaign in their communities in hopes of getting more people involved. Each of these women's lives has been touched directly by cancer.

Smirnov said the original plan is to keep the number of ambassadors to 50 for the first phase of the campaign. After six months they will decide if they want to add to the group or change it in anyway.

"It was a very deliberate effort to have one representative from every state," she said. "Each of those women [will] become a micro-network in her state and represent many other women who would be involved locally in the campaign."

Excitement for the campaign is already building, according to Rose. "We now tentatively have 1,200 people pre-signed up for the campaign and to donate their hair," Rose said. "We have 120 ponytail donations and that was before having even launched."

Rose estimates the campaign will generate some 10,000 donations.

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