Hairy Affair for P&G, Pantene and Bret Michaels

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Well-tressed rocker Bret Michaels’ new People magazine cover states, “I’m lucky to be alive.” Procter & Gamble, meanwhile, is recovering from its own crisis: will one of the stars of the ‘world’s first reality hair star’ contest for Pantene recover in time for the contest conclusion on May 25th?

P&G and the Poison frontman have been co-orchestrating a rebrand of Pantene, along with the whiff of possibility that Michaels would become the shampoo’s frontman as well, or at least sideman. Contestants have been vying for the opportunity to wash their hair on live TV alongside Pantene pitchwoman, Stacy London, star of TLC’s What Not to Wear.

The winner will accompany Stacy to a Poison concert and be part of Michaels’ entourage for the night. Included in the package are backstage passes, a ride on the rocker’s private tour bus, and first-class airfare. P&G is now betting on Michaels’ full recovery in time to shoot the commercial and participate in the event portion of the prize.[more]

The “Be the Rock Star You Are” campaign was a creative match made in heaven, bringing together 12 finalist wannabes, with great hair; a sexy rocker, with great hair; and a hair product that made them all shine.

Until Michaels’ rush to the emergency room on April 21st and extended stay in intensive care.

A P&G spokesman commented at the time, “We wish him a speedy recovery, and we’re certainly hoping for the very best.” Michael’s other high profile gig, NBC’s Celebrity Apprentice, also wished him well during its broadcast.

It was certainly edgy for the marketer to have chosen the Rock of Love celeb to add luster, bringing in men (and women), to Pantene. BrandFreak commented that Michaels’ signing was “bound to send that ROI skyrocketing.”

We’ll have to wait and see. It’s certainly an interesting twist in the lexicon of celebrities’ associations with brand. This time, it wasn’t a scandal but a life-and-death situation that put Michaels on the cover of People, and burnished his standing in the public’s hearts and his personal brand.

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