Head & Shoulders

A Marketing Campaign Designed with Gen-Z’s Needs in Mind

While legacy brands question how to market to youth, Head & Shoulders is leading the way

Facts

Industry

  • Retail & Consumer Goods

Service

  • Marketing Services

Get to Know Head & Shoulders

About

The world’s number one shampoo, Head & Shoulders, is on a mission to free the world from dandruff and give people healthy-looking scalps and great hair. Developed in 1961 by Procter and Gamble and based on decades of international scientific research, Head & Shoulders create products that work brilliantly for everyone—regardless of age, gender or ethnicity.  

Head & Shoulders believes nothing should stop you from feeling confident and enjoying life to its fullest—a message we helped them amplify to Gen Z audiences.

Unearthing the Cause for Concern Beyond the Tiny Flakes 

Head & Shoulders

Effectively engaging Gen Z in its communication was a challenge for Head & Shoulders to overcome. To help them become relevant to this audience, we knew we first had to identify a cause close to their heart and then provide an honest solution. 

One in three teenagers are bullied, and those with dandruff are twice as likely to experience bullying. Head & Shoulders have been successfully treating dandruff for several years, but the company hasn’t treated the emotional consequences faced by the sufferers until now. We took Head & Shoulders out of the beauty context and brought it into a reality faced by millions of teens. Building on real experiences, we launched a campaign to rewrite the story of dandruff and fight the most severe side-effect of it: bullying. 

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Reaching Youth Where It Counts 

Head & Shoulders

We wanted to reframe the role Head & Shoulders plays as a brand and modernize its marketing away from solely focusing on dandruff being a problem that its products can solve. Throughout the years, cultural stigmas built on misconceptions around the condition have grown, making dandruff a reason for low self-esteem and, in worst-case scenarios, even bullying. We created a campaign based on true stories about how heavy dandruff can weigh on your shoulders.  

In the #FreeTheShoulders campaign, we rewrite the story around dandruff and the issues connected to it. The film is centered around following kids being bullied in school corridors, locker rooms, classrooms and even at home through social media with a young girl’s voice narrating her agony of bullying, striking an emotional chord with the audience.  

We collaborated with Anti-Bullying Programme from The Diana Award charity, the leading anti-bullying programme in the UK and Ireland for this campaign ensuring that it was accurately depicting the life of the bullied. Their mission for this two-year partnership with Head & Shoulders is to educate and empower 1 million teenagers, parents and adults across Europe to stand against bullying in any form. We knew partnering with The Diana Award charity was the right call due to their stellar reputation as well as their established network of schools located around the target market for the campaign.   

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Results

Head & Shoulders

Delivering a deeply honest story contributed to the campaign outperforming expectations and benchmarks. We set in motion a conversation from the perspective of the youth, telling their story of insecurities and bullying connected to dandruff.  

We had over 1000 bullying stories shared through the campaign, with positive feedback from teens (61%) and parents (39%). More than a quarter of a million students in 450+ schools in the UK signed up to implement our educational program. The campaign won “Best marketing to Youth” in the largest communications award in Eastern Europe and was the best performing brand asset among Point of Market Entry (three times better than the TikTok benchmark ). 

By focusing on our audience and understanding what matters to them, we created a candid and relevant campaign for Gen Z and added a new emotional layer to Head & Shoulders’ storytelling.

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