CAMPAIGNS: Clarke seeks new clientele for hair range - Consumer PR

Client: Wella PR Team: EHPR Campaign: Nicky Clarke hair products Timescale: August 2002 - ongoing Budget: £180,000

Nicky Clarke's public image has been one of daytime TV star and high-profile celebrity crimper. But over the past year, Clarke has undergone a subtle image change to help boost his range of hair care products created by Wella.

Instead of being populist, Clarke became more elitist in the quest for higher sales and a more exclusive image.

Objectives

To transform the 47-year-old's image in order to reposition his range of hair care products from mass market to designer. To generate sales among a target audience of 18 to 24-year-olds with 'high aspirations' through upmarket magazines and newspapers.

Strategy and Plan

EHPR decided that in order to reposition Clarke and his products, he had to undergo an image change, by cutting down on his more populist media work and aiming for the higher end of the market. 'He was well known for his appearances on This Morning, but we wanted a more exclusive image that would appeal to the designer market,' said EHPR deputy managing director Leigh-Ann Wilson. 'We wanted 85 per cent of the campaign to centre on the products and 15 per cent on Nicky.'

Therefore, the team stopped his appearances in general women's weekly magazines, and targeted upmarket titles such as Vogue, Harpers & Queen and Tatler instead.

'We had to keep asking: "would Gucci do this, or Calvin Klein do that?"' said Wilson. The next tactic was to produce samples at celebrity parties attended by stars and journalists. Nicky Clarke products were placed in goody bags along with other exclusive names. The team also organised for Clarke to write a regular feature in OK!, on how readers can copy celebrity hairstyles with his range. Press releases were sent out to targeted publications, and at this year's BAFTA ceremony celebrities were offered a free hair-do using Clarke products.

Measurement and Evaluation

Cutting agencies were contracted to assess media impact. Interviews with Clarke and features on the new hair range appeared in the magazine and style sections of The Sunday Times, The Independent on Sunday, Evening Standard's ES magazine, Vogue, Tatler, Harpers & Queen and ELLE. Altogether, 215 pieces of coverage were produced.

Results

The latest figures show that, to date, Nicky Clarke product sales increased by 43 per cent solely due to PR - the brand had no advertising support during this period.

Heat style editor Ellie Crompton said Clarke's image did need updating, but suggested it would be wrong for him to become too elitist. 'It hasn't been particularly obvious that he's had an image change,' she said. 'He and his products are in a very competitive market, so he does need to be a bit different but not too much, otherwise he'll undo the reputation he's spent years creating.'

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