This 30-second scene of teenage 'suicide' is actually selling Schwarzkopf's Napro LiveColour, a semi-permanent hair dye. Its agency, Omon, created the controversial TV spot so that the screen return of Schwarzkopf's Napro brand would not go unnoticed after a seven-year absence.
The spot is the centerpiece of the company's plan to grow the $13-million retail hair color market by 10% to 15% in the next year by targeting 18-24-year-old women. The company also wants to increase Napro's leadership of the semi-permanent segment, of which it commands a 47% share.
Matthew Clegg, Schwarzkopf's marketing manager/retail division, said women in the target market empathized with the ad during research. 'The category is driven by emotion. Many triggers arouse women to buy products of this sort, such as depression and boredom,' he said. Given this, the gruesome creative was the most effective way of enhancing brand awareness, said Omon managing director Mark de Teliga.
Advertising Standards Council executive director Colin Harcourt said ads of this nature are necessary to ensure that advertising will not become 'safe and boring.' But the Napro ad was nearly banned by the Federation of Australian Commercial Television Stations' Commercial Acceptance Division. The ASC has not received any complaints.
She walks out of the bathroom, cracking a framed photograph of a man - perhaps her ex-boyfriend. She has newly dyed bright red hair, courtesy of Napro.
Penny Warneford is news editor for Ad News in Sydney.
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)