Pantene Signs 11 Well-tressed Olympians

Pantene

While the race for Olympic endorsers is already well underway, Procter & Gamble just got a big leg up, introducing 11 hopefuls in new advertising for its Pantene hair care brand.

In the U.S., TV and print ads will rely heavily on swimmer Natalie Coughlin, an 11-time Olympic medalist. P&G says she is the first American female athlete to win six medals in one Olympic Games, and is two gold medals away from becoming the most decorated female U.S. Olympian, which means the media will be following her progress closely leading up to the games.

The group will be featured in the brand’s first global marketing campaign to support the upcoming Olympic Games in London. The gold-drenched ads, shot by Alexi Lubomirski, underscore Pantene’s commitment to the idea that “healthy is the new beautiful.”  Headlined “I trust Pantene to make my hair look great so I can concentrate on training,” the campaign is the first time the brand has ever used athletes. (Actresses Liv Tyler and Eva Mendes continue to represent the product as well.)

The effort breaks in June, and a spokesperson for P&G says the TV spots will air in Olympics programming on NBC in late July- mid August. The campaign was created by Grey New York.

Among the athletes are six Olympic gold medalists, including Brazilian Jaqueline Carvalho (volleyball); Argentina’s Gisela Dulko (tennis); China’s Wu Minxia (diving), and Russia’s Evgeniya Kanaeva (rhythmic gymnastics).

P&G’s anchor campaign for the Olympics continues to be its “Thank You, Mom” effort.

Separately, Procter & Gamble posted sharply lower quarterly results, partly due to rising commodity costs and restructuring. Sales of its hair care products fared poorly, decreasing by mid-single digits in developed regions. The entire U.S. shampoo industry is weaker, as well, with SymphonyIRI Group, a Chicago-based market research firm, reporting that sales in the 52-week period ending Dec. 25 are up less than 1%, while dollar sales are up 3.6%.

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