Ad of the Day: Supercuts

The hair-salon chain turns up the volume, partnering with 600 indie bands and musicians to 'Rock the Cut'

Weren't we just talking about bands and brands?

More and more advertisers are using under-the-radar musical acts to burnish their own credentials, and now Supercuts is jumping on the bandwagon with "Rock the Cut," a pun-riddled integrated push by ad agency Element 79 that likens the hair-salon chain's stylists to aspiring rock stars—or something. The TV work, which the client describes as "documentary style" but feels more like testimonials, pairs indie acts like four-piece Vintage Trouble with Supercuts employees, and shows the artists alternately performing songs and chatting about how awesome their Supercuts haircuts are—endorsements echoed by the stylists, who go on about how awesome the Supercuts haircuts they provided are. "You have a pride in the way you step out into public, especially when you have a good haircut," says Ty Taylor, Vintage Trouble's frontman, in one of the 60-second spots below. "You're going to leave looking like a rock star," Supercuts hairdresser Diana reassures the camera.

Tying music, which tends to be inherently image conscious, into advertising for a salon chain isn't as much of a stretch as it might be for other categories (hardware or laundry detergent, for example). But Supercuts' mass-market status, and the gung-ho praise from the artists, makes the campaign feel like a more blatant than usual grab for authenticity—the instinct that drives most big advertisers' interest in indie music. (Brands get to pretend they're edgier than they actually are, while bands get cash and exposure.)

Beyond the broadcast component, Supercuts is diving deeper into the niches of obscure acts with an online hub featuring tracks and bios from more than 600 artists in a range of genres; four custom channels on Clear Channel-owned Internet music service iHeartRadio; and concert promotions through Live Nation. The featured bands are tasked with promoting the brand on major social sites like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Foursquare and Pinterest, which means Supercuts' marketing tentacles are even further entwined in the musicians' relationships with their audiences—molding fundamentally countercultural artists into a small army of corporate endorsers.

Play on, brave new world.


Client: Supercuts        

Campaign: "Rock the Cut"

Agency: Element 79, Chicago

Account Team: Jerry Conner, Elizabeth Miller, Stacie Dunn

Executive Creative Director: Canice Neary

Creative Director: Chris Laubach          

Art Directors: Ryan Bloecker, Dan Cosgrove

Copywriters: Tim Cerullo, Prashant Nashi

Agency Producer: Michael Gabriele  

Print Producer/Art Buyer: Jennifer Niccum

Digital Direction: Tom Napper, Ryan Carlos, Brad Simpson, Ashley Wohl

Music/Sponsorship Agency: GMR Marketing, Milwaukee

Social Media Agency: Zócalo Group, Chicago

TV Director: Barney Miller  

Production Company: Detox       

Executive Producer/Line Producer: Rachelle Madden    

Print Director/Photographer: John Boehm     

Editing House: Hooligan, New York

Senior Editor: Barney Miller

Co-Editors: Jordan Green, Erin Bowser

Assistant Editor: Erin Bowser

EP: Sue Wladar

Telecine: Nice Shoes/Lez Rudge

FC Color: Matt Rosenblum

Flame: TANQ/Andrew Granelli

Audio: Shout It Out Loud

Sound Designer/Engineer: Dan Dzula

Featured Musicians: Vintage Trouble, Ken Loi, Laura Bell Bundy, Gold Motel