Pantene faced two challenges going into its 2012 Beautiful Lengths program, which encourages people to donate their cut hair to make wigs for breast-cancer sufferers. First, in the years since the haircare brand launched its program in 2006, myriad other manufacturers and retailers have also initiated programs fighting the disease. While Pantene certainly didn’t want to mitigate their efforts, it needed to make its own program stand out so that it could inspire more people to donate their hair.
Second, potential donors needed to be able to cut off and send a ponytail at least eight inches long. This criterion ruled out many who nonetheless wanted to support the cause.
So, along with Arc Worldwide/Leo Burnett, Pantene encouraged women “to brush with a purpose”—to grow long, healthy hair that they could donate in the future. To help them do so, it create a special pink hairbrush that it distributed in a limited-edition pack that also included its Beautiful Lengths shampoo, conditioner, and sample-size hairspray. The packs were promoted on Facebook and Pantene.com, where the company also encouraged people to share stories and videos explaining why and how they supported the effort.
And on National Donate Your Hair Day, at retail events nationwide, Pantene gave away more than 30,000 pink Beautiful Lengths hair elastics—a decidedly different and more utilitarian take on the ubiquitous cause bracelets—to encourage women to tie up their ponytails, no matter how short, to generate awareness for the cause.
The efforts generated not just awareness but plenty of hair for wigs as well: A record 200,000 ponytails were donated, nearly twice as many as had been donated in all the years prior.