Redken plugs new hair gel with online

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To support the launch of a new line of hair styling products called Urban Experiment, Redken is letting interactive marketing lead the charge for the first time.

Urban Experiment, which was launched to salon professionals in February, consists of four items designed to help users create mohawks, dreadlocks or second-day hair. To help Redken bring the line to consumers, it has teamed up with the urban cultural events Web site Flavorpill.

"We partnered with Flavorpill because they know how to market to this lifestyle, to people who live in the music scene and the arts scene in urban areas," said Molly Mansur, senior director of interactive marketing at Redken.

New York-based Flavorpill produces e-mail newsletters, city guides in many urban areas and e-mail magazines about fashion, literature and music. It is known for showcasing alternative cultural happenings, such as gallery openings and DJ nights at local clubs, as opposed to mainstream events that take place in big museums or concert halls.

Redken will invest the largest portion of its Urban Experiment marketing budget online. This is a departure from Redken's previous marketing campaigns, which typically focused heavily on print advertising in major fashion magazines. Redken is a division of beauty behemoth L'Oreal USA, New York.

The focal point of the campaign is a series of contests in urban areas. These will offer participants the opportunity to star in a webisode series about their experiences in a small town, somewhere in the United States.

The first contest took place this summer in New York. It was promoted via e-mails sent by Flavorpill and Redken to their opt-in e-mail databases, as well as with co-branded ads on Gawker.com and The Onion's Web site.

Five webisodes, produced by Redken, follow users of the hair product. Mansur said, "This truly is an urban experiment, which is why it is a great fit for our brand."

The campaign will continue through May 2008, with similar contests scheduled for Chicago, Miami and Los Angeles.

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