The new brand is Fekkai, known by women who mostly have their hair colored in salons.Given these economic times when salon clients are stretching visits, and/or are trying drug store hair color, it might be a good idea. But how good?
Fekkai makes a lot of promises, but can’t deliver on all of them.
On the negative side is the risk, the mess and the time it takes to color hair. It’s not even an easy-to-use, shampoo-in color—because that’s just not done in classy salons.
So the carrot is the trade-down/save-money opportunity this year, and maybe the next, but forever? We think not. Male readers should understand the female psychology that hair is numero uno when it comes to self-esteem—bad hair days are just bad days, totally. The trade-down opportunity evidenced in skin care and to some degree in cosmetics (prestige to mass) is not the same for hair color, where the self-image risk is far greater than price alone. In skin care and cosmetics, mass marketers—spearheaded by plenty of P&G advertising to support innovative, high-value products—are fostering the attack trade-down from prestige; i.e., in skin care (Olay) and cosmetics (Cover Girl). See The Grayson Report (July, 2009) for more on the subject.
Yes, there is a considerable savings versus this salon service; i.e., Tony & Guy salons start at about $70 (plus tip) for this type of hair color, depending on the experience level of the stylist. At $30 a pop (not shown in the ad), the bulk of Fekkai’s targeted consumers would be expected to come from salon clients, as the salon color price tag is just too formidable for a drug store trade-up. But salons are for women for whom the savings are not worth the trouble and risk.
Some Tough Competition
The audit scores tell this story. theBrandAudit scores assume that the product will perform as positioned. Consumer Appeal was the highest scoring segment due to the authority/believability of Fekkai celebrity and the professional aura. Product, Positioning and Marketing Potential were better than average, without outstanding positives or negatives. But Competition (very good drug store product availability), captured only 30% of available points, dropping the total score to 70.34. It is here that the final story will be written.
That’s the (very) fine print that’s supposed to create dissonance with drug store products, provide the price support, and above all reassure upscale consumers that there will be better results with little risk. Importantly, nothing unique is said about the color quality, or the look and performance of the shades. In a shade-driven, high-loyalty category, a few kind words for benefit-perception to offset the flat-looking boxes at the bottom of the ad would have driven the score into the “effective” range.
In sum, there is not enough product power nor advertising motivation to propel even a mini-revolution—and surely not for the long term. Frederic Fekkai is not Vidal Sassoon! Of course, the outrageous price may create its own buzz—think La Mer!
Reminder—tap into the major thrust of natural/organic/sustainable beauty at our Green Beauty conference, Oct. 14-16, Santa Monica, CA. More info: www.greenbeautyconference.com