Hairy Questions

Few ads for Elasta QP hair care products ask what makes for beautiful African American hair. The more pressing problem for Young & Laramore was how best to pose the question.
The Indianapolis agency provided client Kenra, Inc. with two different TV executions that seek to debunk the notion that straight hair is a black woman’s ideal. The 30-second spots have launched in Southeastern test markets to determine which is more effective, with one then scheduled to roll out nationally next year.
One spot, “Freedom,” contrasts a straight-haired, pale-skinned African American model with 11 black women sporting various hairdos. The title cards ask, “Haven’t we fought too hard for freedom to become slaves to fashion?”
A second spot, “Good Hair/Bad Hair,” uses simple animation to juxtapose straight hair with curly hair. The tagline for both spots is, “Your hair. Your style. Your choice.”
The ads play on black women’s annoyance with preset images of beauty, said Y&L president Paul Knapp.
“They address real black women, and they speak in a very direct fashion to the issues the target audience has identified as the most important,” he said.
–Jenn Goddu