Burnett Resets Vidal Sassoon

Leo Burnett attempts to push the Vidal Sassoon hair-care line as a high-end fashion accessory rather than another packaged commodity in its first campaign for the Procter & Gamble brand since landing the business nearly two years ago.

“In the ’60s, Vidal Sassoon was the only hair stylist that had any fashion credentials,” said Nick Souter, Burnett’s global creative director on the brand. “Over the years, that image has disappeared.”

Print executions in the campaign launching the VS Sassoon line use the VS initials as a shorthand for “versus.” One gatefold spread shows a picture of a bonsai tree with the headline, “Quiet vs. Loud.” Body copy over the new VS products emphasizes the words, “You have” and “You want,” before displaying a woman with flowing hair.

“Fashion is about choice, and this campaign is about empowering you to make choices,” Souter said. “It empowers people to choose the style that best expresses their individuality.”

A television spot takes a broader approach, introducing the VS Sassoon line as one culled from “the company’s favorite products from around the world.”

“TV is more about gaining a range,” Souter said. “We want the world to know there’s a new product out there.”

Neither print nor TV executions use a tagline, which Souter said would be “out of place” for a fashion brand. “Fashion is about seduction, rather than persuasion,” he said.

The print campaign will appear in upcoming issues of “top end” fashion magazines. The television spot breaks this week.

Burnett won the account, formerly at Euro RSCG Tatham, in October 1998 in a global realignment of P&G brands. P&G spent $8 million on advertising the Vidal Sassoon line last year, according to Competitive Media Reporting.