Redken’s Hair-Raising ‘Experiment’

NEW YORK When hair-care products maker Redken 5th Avenue NYC (a division of L’Oreal USA) wanted to launch a line called Urban Experiment, it determined that treks to small towns were required to get the word out.

Redken turned to New York-based Flavorpill, an online publisher that specializes in hip happenings in major cities such as New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, to handle creative duties.

Starting today, the fruits of that collaboration will be seen in Web ads inviting consumers to enter a contest. The winners get to visit small towns to explore their cultural life for an Internet video series called “Out of Town.” (The towns have yet to be determined.)

The first clip is scheduled to debut Aug. 1 on New York-based Missing Pieces will produce the show.

“We are going to take unrelated people and have them explore small-town culture, as a sort of a reconnaissance mission for Flavorpill,” said Sascha Lewis, the company’s co-founder. “It’s a way to bring the small town to life in a way that is fun and interesting, giving it some purpose as opposed to taking [a] piss on it, which is what you typically see in reality shows.”

At the start and finish of the four Web episodes (each set in a different town and featuring different pairs of winners), pre- and post-rolls will show the participants using Redken products, which will also be featured in the actual series in a manner as yet undetermined.

Salon promotions will support the Web show—and Redken will sponsor Flavorpill’s Fair Trade concert series of up-and-coming bands. There will also be banner ads on Web sites such as The Onion, and

The budget was undisclosed.

“We’re trying to reach a new target that is hard to define. It’s more of a lifestyle than a demographic,” said Molly Mansur, Redken’s senior director of interactive marketing, based in New York. “In the past it has been the demographic of women aged 18-34. This is about people living an underground lifestyle who try different things with their hair.”