This Agency Connects With 100 Million Customers Through Hair

Salons and barbershops aren't just for grooming

DeVerges Jones (l.), COO, and Wil Shelton, CEO Otis Sanders
Headshot of Ann-Marie Alcántara

For its impressive brand activations, Wil Power Entertainment has an unexpected advantage: its vast network of over 100,000 independent salons and barbershops across the country. And this strategy seems to be paying off. The Cypress, Calif.-based creative shop claims it connects with more than 100 million customers annually.

But why hair?

Salons and barbershops are “cultural touch points” and remain an “untapped venue” to reach African-American consumers, explained Wil Shelton, WPE founder and CEO. These spaces are an essential element in communities and contain a “deep connection between the stylists and the patrons in [a] trusted environment,” Shelton said, adding that “African Americans have a heavy influence with entertainment and global brands.”

By activating in a unique and underutilized setting, Shelton said he helps brands connect with “an underserved audience and an underserved consumer.” The agency has worked with numerous media and record label companies like Fox and Interscope Records, and it most recently held an activation for Tyler Perry’s latest film, Acrimony.

WPE delivered custom merchandise and branded swag to salons in five different markets, including Atlanta and Chicago, working with salon shop influencers to share posts on social media. The agency held preview screenings at the salons for TNT’s Claws. Some showings saw 150 attendees, no doubt thanks to the agency providing food, drinks, haircuts and massages. 

The activation for TNT’S Claws included advance screenings and free swag.

This story first appeared in the May 28, 2018, issue of Adweek magazine. Click here to subscribe.
@itstheannmarie Ann-Marie Alcántara is a tech reporter for Adweek, focusing on direct-to-consumer brands and ecommerce.