Just for Men Hair Color's
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Holmes Report

Just for Men Hair Color's

Ketchum scored a touchdown: the brand maintained its market share, it garnered unprecedented media visibility, and ordinary men came “out of the closet” to color their gray hair in public.

Paul Holmes

For years, Just For Men Haircolor maintained a stronghold on the men’s haircoloring category with 60 percent market share.  However, the recent entrance of new men’s haircoloring products by major industry players meant potential loss of market share.  Ketchum’s charge was to support the brand in maintaining its leadership position in a booming category witnessing an explosion in new products.  Ketchum scored a touchdown:  the brand maintained its market share, it garnered unprecedented media visibility, and ordinary men came “out of the closet” to color their gray hair in public. 


Does he or doesn’t he?  Color that is…Research shows that while men want to look younger, they are apprehensive about coloring their gray hair for fear of unnatural results, or if they do color, they don’t want to admit it.  To reduce the risk men associate with coloring their gray hair, Ketchum focused on recruiting a macho sports hero to color his gray hair publicly to show regular guys that haircoloring is not “just for women.”  Ketchum also had to enlist regular guys to “go public” and color their gray hair in front of crowds of their peers in a guy’s ultimate hangout – NFL stadiums.   While these were among the program’s biggest challenges, they were also tied to program’s success.


Proprietary and third-party market research provided by the JFM brand team guided the PR strategy and allowed Ketchum to align the program’s PR goals to one of the brand’s goals of maintaining 60 percent market share.  Research shows non-users in the target demographic tend to feel uncomfortable about coloring their hair or cite a lack of  convenience or time as reasons not to color.  The challenge is to get men “out of the closet” to try the product.  Once they do, they tend to be long-term users. The brand maintains the highest repeat/loyalty rate of all haircoloring products on the market.

Research also shows that women can be influencers in a man’s decision to color.

National health-and-lifestyle telephone survey created by Ketchum of 300 men ages 18-65 gauged perceptions of having gray hair to shape media messages/tactics.  Research also shows a discrepancy in the category’s booming growth and the disproportionately small number of men willing to admit that they color their gray.

Media audit of JFM’s past media coverage and category information validates that men are becoming increasingly image-conscious when it comes to their hair – even if they don’t want to ‘fess up.  According to Chain Drug Review  “haircoloring is hot” and trend experts indicate that “men are becoming slaves to beauty.”  But research tells us that men still keep haircoloring under their hats.



Support Just For Men Haircolor in maintaining 60 percent market share. 

Generate 30 percent more coverage than the previous year’s 35 million media impressions for a total of 50 million media impressions to maintain high visibility in a category with new entrants and competitors.  Media goals were two national, 30 television, 25 print and 100 radio placements in outlets reaching the target demographic. Ninety percent of the placements are to contain two key messages.

Encourage consumer interaction and stimulate product trial.   With a goal of publicly coloring 25 men’s hair, Ketchum hosted haircoloring demonstrations in venues frequented by men in the product’s target audience.  To encourage first-time trial, (a critical component of getting long-term users) Ketchum’s goal was to give away 100 product rebates.


Reduce the risk men associate with coloring their gray hair by bringing men’s haircoloring “out of the closet.”  


Primary target:  men ages 35-54

Secondary target:  women (since research shows that women can influence a man’s decision to color)

Key Messages

Just For Men Haircolor keeps you at the “top of your game” by helping you look and feel your best.

Just For Men Haircolor is easy to use and gives you natural-looking results.

It rejuvenates hair so it looks and feels younger.


The total program budget was $682,000 ($326,000 fee and $356,000 out-of-pocket expenses)


Spokesperson:  Based on comprehensive research, Ketchum recommended football legend and ESPN analyst Joe Theismann as the perfect spokesperson.  Q-scores show that Theismann enjoys a familiarity rating of 87 percent with men ages 35-49, closely mirroring the product’s demographic. Media soft sounding and database searches showed Theismann to be highly bookable.  According to one producer, “Everybody loves Theismann.”  Proprietary ad testing also showed that Theismann has a high degree of likeability among the product’s demographic.  After Theismann was secured as the new JFM spokesperson, Ketchum media trained him to ensure appropriate and optimal delivery of JFM’s key messages.

“Top of Your Game” Contest:  Ketchum created the “Top of Your Game” contest that graying men could enter for a trip to Jamaica (a majority of men surveyed in Ketchum’s national survey for JFM chose a tropical vacation as the ideal prize) via www.justformen.com. To enter, men wrote an essay about staying on top of their game and submitted a current photo.  To further encourage trial, each man received a retouched photo showing how he would look if he continued to “go gray” and a rebate (to turn first-time users into long-time users).   While visiting www.justformen.com to enter the contest, men could learn more about the product.  Advertising and marketing also promoted the product and contest during the program.

National Kick-Off Event:  To bring men’s haircoloring out of the closet and to reduce risk, Theismann colored his gray for the first time at the ESPN Zone sports bar before hundreds of onlookers and the media.  Prior to the event, media received an invitation designed to look like “Joe’s locker,” which included a towel and invitation. The event was emceed by a New York City sports talk show host who served as the “color” commentator.  The venue was transformed into a hair salon so that Theismann and other “regular Joes” could color away their gray.  Onlookers were able to see first hand that the product is easy to use and risk-free.  Street teams were stationed outside the venue to drive men to the event to color their hair.

Media Kit/National Media Relations:  To encourage widespread media interest and to kick-off the contest, a media kit, designed to look like Joe’s “playbook,” was sent to 1,500 consumer print and broadcast media outlets across the U.S.   Interviews were booked with national media outlets, and Theismann spoke positively and openly about coloring his hair.

Satellite Media Tour/Radio Media Tour/Radio News Release:  To garner more media attention, Theismann participated in a satellite media tour, radio media tour and recorded a radio news release.  He delivered JFM’s key messages with ease and talked openly and positively about coloring his hair.

Local Market Events:  As a risk-reducing tactic and as a way to garner additional media attention, haircoloring demonstrations were staged at NFL stadiums in three of Combe’s top markets.  A smaller version of the ESPN Zone event, each event took place in a high-traffic location of the stadium.  Each volunteer was viewed as a risk-reducing vehicle for the crowds of manly sports die-hards who were able to watch regular guys do what is considered risky and unthinkable…color their gray hair and in public.  Ketchum placed calendar listings and print stories in local newspapers to drive men to the event and product publicity.  

Charity Partnership:  To optimize consumer interaction, product trial and to soften a commercial story with no news, the program included a charity partnership with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.  Many men in JFM’s target audience are fathers, and Theismann serves on St. Jude’s sports advisory board making the charity a perfect fit.  The charity tie played a key role in the program and was an additional media hook and encouraged participation in the haircoloring demonstrations and contest, sparking trial and use. JFM made a donation to St. Jude for every man who entered the contest or colored his hair at one of the events.  As one volunteer said, “I’m coloring my hair today because I want to look good and help kids.”


Objective:  Support Just For Men Haircolor in maintaining 60 percent market share.

Met goal.  Despite heated competition and heavy competitive advertising, Just For Men Haircolor’s market share held steady at 60 percent.  The brand continues to be the best selling men’s haircoloring product. 

Objective:  Generate 30 percent more coverage than the previous year’s 35 million media impressions for a total of 50 million media impressions to maintain high visibility in a category with new entrants and competitors. 

Surpassed goal by 38 percent (80 million impressions), with 16 national (goal: two), 45 television (goal: 30), 25 print 

(goal: 25) and 418 radio placements (goal: 100).  In addition, 13 Internet placements were garnered.  Key placements included: Live! With Regis, Fox and Friends, Fox Rules, ESPN Radio, ESPN, ABC Radio and USA Today. 

Ninety-nine percent of the placements contained at least two key messages.  Ninety percent of the placements directly targeted the demographic through sports sections of print outlets, sports segments of broadcast outlets or during morning-drive time. The remaining segments reached women, key influencers.

A post-campaign Lexis-Nexis search shows JFM maintained 50 percent more visibility than its nearest category competitor.  This is a very conservative number since Lexis-Nexis doesn’t contain all news outlets, particularly broadcast outlets, which JFM focused on.

Objective:  Encourage consumer interaction and stimulate product trial.

Surpassed goal by 53 percent of getting 25 first-time users over the hurdle to try the product.  As a result of the four events, 55 first-time users tried the product with hundreds of onlookers able to see first hand how easy and risk-free it is to use. Several participants were local celebrities and broadcast personalities.

Met goal of giving away 100 product rebates to further encourage trial and long-time use.  As one haircoloring volunteer said, “Looking good helps me feel confident, and Just For Men gives me that confidence.” 
Through the contest and haircoloring demonstrations, JFM raised $10,000 for St. Jude.

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