L.A. Looks Lets Its Hair Down in DDB Campaign

LOS ANGELES-DDB is using the title song from the 1960s musical Hair to restage the L.A. Looks line of hair styling gels with an eye to widening the brand’s appeal to an older demographic.

A new 30-second TV commercial features the classic song as a rapid-fire sequence of various hairstyles flashes onscreen. Among the wild styles and weird colors are a handful of more traditional hairstyles and slightly older faces. The spot, which will be accompanied by two print ads, concludes with the tagline, “The new L.A. Looks. It takes strength to look this good.” The media budget was not disclosed.

DDB president Rick Carpenter said securing the rights to the music was like combing a tangled mane. “To my knowledge, the song ‘Hair’ has never been used in an ad,” said Carpenter, whose agency has handled creative on the account for nearly three years. (Carat handles media buying.) “It was a challenge to get the rights, but we felt it was a category-defining piece of music.”

After securing the rights from music publisher EMI, the agency rerecorded the track that was made famous by The Cowsills when the play debuted on Broadway in 1969.

The Schwarzkopf & Dep brand, which is more than a decade old, has long been positioned as hip and offbeat and has been targeted mostly toward women in their teens and early 20s. According to Carpenter, the restaging of the line of products is aimed at “elevating the brand to appeal to a broader age segment.”

At the same time, he adds, the work seeks to maintain a connection to those see their hair as a means of self-expression.

Client marketing director Geri Lieberman said the campaign captures the new identity without obscuring the brand’s heritage. “Our objective is to own the hair styling category, and this [campaign] moves us in the right direction,” said Lieberman.