Unilever Targets Young Women Who Watch Super Bowl

The Super Bowl may be suffused with testosterone, but that isn't stopping Unilever from using the game to launch a new global campaign for women's hair-care product Sunsilk.

The company's hair-care division is buying time--spots are hovering around $2.5 million for half a minute--to pitch the brand with a new "Life Can't Wait" platform. The effort includes ads featuring Marilyn Monroe and--among the living--Madonna and Shakira. The ad shows watershed moments from the entertainers' lives.

The Sunsilk line, which had been established in global markets, was introduced to the U.S. market in 2006 with a $100 million campaign, rivaling the company's campaign for Dove in size. The product targets 18- to-25-year-old consumers, per Chicago-based consultancy Mintel, which said in a 2006 report on the hair-care segment that Sunsilk's U.S. intro followed years of success in other markets. Mintel says the brand is the No. 1 seller in Asia, Latin America and the Middle East.



The firm's report on the segment said that success in Latin America prior to its 2006 U.S. introduction could be a benefit for drawing U.S. Hispanic consumers who may already be familiar with this product.

The effort, via Paris-based agency DeGrippes Gobe, contends that women think it's what's on top that matters. The company cites a survey of 3,000 consumers in six countries revealing "the universal truth" that 20-something women find having "good" hair can be a trigger for seizing opportunities.

Unilever says that after the Super Bowl debut, the ads will run in such countries as India, Brazil, Thailand and Mexico. In the U.S., an outdoor campaign following the Super Bowl will support a TV and interactive push. Marquee billboards in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago will parallel home page takeovers on portals and sites like AOL, TMZ.com and MySpace.

A consumer-content and social networking element asks women to upload their own "Life Can't Wait" moments at lifecantwait.com. The company will choose a winner from each country in which the company is pitching Sunsilk. Winners will become "international Sunsilk icons."

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