When one the world’s largest goods producers drops $200 million to promote a new product and there’s a gay angle, they certainly attract our attention. Unilever is opening its fat wallet for the U.S. launch of Sunsilk shampoo, hoping for one of the biggest splashes in the company’s history. So why do we care? Because the shampoo – aimed at women – is being marketed with three gay “best friend” types who will be pivotal to the marketing push. The Wall Street Journal reports Unilver
[…] will position them as style experts and they will write advice columns in magazines such as Cosmopolitan and Star, appear as commentators on television, and diagnose shoppers’ hair problems. […]
Unilever is paying to have the trio’s hair advice column appear in some magazines, such as Cosmopolitan. Star will take it as a regular editorial contribution in its August edition. The men will be among the commentators who riff about celebrity news on cable-TV channel VH-1’s “Best Week Ever.”
Don’t get us started about pay-for-pay (i.e. disguising paid-for advertising spots as editorial) in magazines — but the idea is damn brilliant. It remains to be seen whether Unilever can execute this brand splash without tripping over the Queer Eye factor, but they’ve got some clout: Sunsilk is already hugely successful in Europe, Latin America and Asia. The new shampoo hits the American market this month and is already taking a huge step in ensuring its success: two of its eight variations are aimed specifically as Hispanic women, targeting the fastest growing demographic in the country. You know, beside fag hags.
(The WSJ article is only available to paid subscribers.)
Unilever’s Sunsilk(TM) to Debut in the U.S. [Business Wire]