At Pantene, hair has no gender
Creating the first marketing campaign of its kind
- Retail & Consumer Goods
- Marketing Creativity & Performance
Get to know Pantene
First introduced in Europe in 1945, Pantene is the world’s most popular hair care brand from Procter and Gamble. Pantene took over the hair health market when they pioneered the use of Pro-Vitamin B5, a nutrient that Swiss scientists found to improve hair’s health, making it stronger and more beautiful. They entered the beauty space when they were acquired by Procter and Gamble in 1985. Since then, they’ve reached the top spot in the world through their exceptional product and strong marketing efforts.
Today, the company’s mission is to give more people more great hair days—because hair is never “just hair.” Pantene believes that everyone should be able to express themselves through their hair. When looking to combine these two concepts into one, Pantene came up with the Hair Has No Gender campaign, and Valtech was fortunate enough to help them bring it to life.
Building a foundation on data and insights
Forty-four percent of LGBTQ+ people feel they can’t come home as their true selves due to a lack of acceptance, help and support. A massive 93% of those who identify as trans or non-binary were misgendered while at a salon, saying they felt anxious and stressed even before entering. Armed with these insights, Pantene wondered what they could do to both demonstrate and promote inclusivity?
We wanted to find a creative and meaningful way to help Pantene pivot from being perceived as “just” a haircare brand to being regarded as a brand that leads impactful change. Our direction was informed by the valuable insight that hair is seen by many transgender individuals as playing a key part in their transition journey. To accomplish this, we knew we needed to go beyond your mainstream beauty commercial to instead encourage deeper conversations that matter.
Influencers and experts create a stronger marketing campaign
This campaign would not have been possible without powerful ambassadors. We knew this topic was important, but we didn’t know what we should communicate. That’s because in situations like these, no one can tell the story better than the people with first-hand knowledge. Therefore, we looked to the talent, and we decided to let their stories shine through.
Our brand ambassadors included Miss Universe Spain winner Angela Ponce, model Lea T, writer Paris Lees, performer Parisa Madani, and artist Travis Alabanza. Each of them had powerful stories that needed to be heard, and we set out to ensure our creative execution would do them justice with a brand that would magnify their voices.
Combining the message with supportive action
To strengthen Pantene’s commitment, we helped them partner with the Toronto-based organization Dresscode Project. Founded by Kristin Rankin, Dresscode Project works to make hair salons safer spaces for LGBTQ+ people—for example, by reframing norms associated with a “men’s cut” versus a “women’s cut.” Their mission is to educate and empower hair stylists and barbers to give people haircuts that help them look the way they feel.
Given the massive overlap between both organizations, we knew it was important to pair them for this campaign. Additionally, because progress demands action even more than words, the campaign included a significant donation to Dresscode Project to help them better spread their message around Europe.
Far from your average haircare campaign, this was about engaging people in an important conversation: one that Pantene has a reason to speak on. And the results are very promising. More than 200 articles have been published about the Hair Has No Gender campaign across Italy, UK, Spain and Canada, including coverage in Elle, Vogue, Vanity Fair, Marie Claire and Glamour, garnering more than 250 million impressions! More than 3 million people have seen the TV interviews on the subject, and even more people have been touched by the 130+ influencer posts on the subject.
But beyond the impressive metrics of the campaign is the impact such a marketing campaign can have and the strong show of solidarity it creates. By amplifying voices that needed to be heard, we helped a globally established brand move beyond conventional communication into sharing emotional stories with solidarity, conviction and purpose.