P&G Growing Hair Growth Biz

The link between dandruff and hair loss may not be completely proven, or even very well-known, but that hasn’t stopped Procter & Gamble from adding a Head & Shoulders line targeted at men with thinning hair.

P&G this month began shipping Head & Shoulders Hair Endurance for Men, a line that’s pitched as reducing hair breakage by eliminating dandruff. The product is based on research from P&G that  shows that more than 44 percent of U.S. males experiencing some form of hair loss also claimed to have dandruff troubles in the three months prior.

“From a need standpoint, it’s a universal need. It’s driven by the fundamental way in which guys’ bodies are built,” said Head & Shoulders senior assistant brand manager Navin Gupta.

P&G launched the product in test markets in Latin America, Western Europe and Africa last year. It’s introducing it to the U.S. with TV ads, and a partnership with the National Football League and Troy Polamalu, a strong-safety with last year’s Super Bowl winners, the Pittsburgh Steelers, in a campaign launching in March.

Ads, via Saatchi & Saatchi, New York, show the evolution of a guy growing up and going through all his life stages. Each stage is marked by a different (and sometimes bizarre) hairstyle, including the obligatory grow-it-out stage.

The line launches as the U.S. market for hair loss remedies is flat, per market research firm Mintel.

Gupta said the product is aimed at men who are concerned about hair loss, but only to a point. “When we talked to guys, we understood there is a segment of consumers that is interested in [hair regrowth] products, but due to some of the negative associations of using them, the expenses, and the fact that you gotta keep using them to keep the gain. [Some] guys have just resigned themselves to their situation.”