To introduce its new Unbreakable Care Collection, Unilever’s Nexxus is going the musical route. It’s hired pop star Meghan Trainor to front the “Unbreakable” campaign, focusing on hard-to-break hair, emotional strength and a ukulele strung with human hair treated with Nexxus products.
“We wanted to demonstrate the anti-breakage benefits and show just how strong hair can be,” says Jessica Grigoriou, head of beauty marketing transformation and Unilever’s Salon and Masstige hair portfolio. “We thought of creating this ukulele as a symbol of strength and using it as a proof point.”
Besides working with Trainor, Nexxus joined forces with artist Tadas Maksimovas and Tomás Delgado, whose family has been making guitars for almost a century. The two built a uke and then strung it with human hair.
Grigoriou says the uke will make an appearance in campaign assets.
The campaign is scheduled to run on social and digital channels, including TikTok, where Trainor has amassed almost 18 million followers. And fun riffs on her #MadeYouLook song have gained over 4.5 billion views.
In a bit of serendipity, Trainor turns out to be uke-friendly. “She often uses a ukulele in her songwriting process,” Grigoriou says.
“TikTok provides a great way to connect with our audience," Grigoriou adds. "It has incredible reach, and we know the power of 'TikTok made me buy it.’ And it works so well with our other influencers, too.”
About half of all adult women in the U.S. are struggling with hair breakage, and Trainor is one of them. Mother of one and pregnant with her second, the singer has been candid about the damage caused by excessive styling and post-partum changes.
Trainor is a natural fit for the effort, Grigoriou says, “because she embodies resilience, and she’s talked a lot about how being a mom has led her on a journey of self-love and acceptance.”
The launch is timed to the release of Trainor’s new book, "Dear Future Mama."
Although Nexxus is owned by Unilever, it occupies a smaller niche without the benefit of the massive budgets of Unilever brands like Dove and Axe.
“We lean a lot into digital, social, and earned media space,” Grigoriou says. “We have to be provocative and creative to cut through.”
Part of that required “bringing the science to life in a very visual way.”
Fine hair has a smaller inner core, she says, with about 40% less protein. That makes it 10 times more likely to break. “From an R&D standpoint, we’ve focused on the amino acids most prominent in that core and developed a blend rich in those amino acids -- which include keratin, collagen, biotin and spirulina.
“We’re catering to a woman who appreciates the science,” Grigoriou says. “She wants to know a lot about the ingredients and how it can work for her hair.”
The products began selling in January and are already off to a good start, she says. The brand occupies an unusual niche as a higher-priced product sold in mass merchandise stores, including Target. “And it does deliver the kind of superior results that typically cost more money.”