Pantene encourages 5,000 Australian women to cut their hair in PR best practice

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A hair care supplier enticing 5,000 woman to cut off their hair is an unusual sign of success.  However this is what Pantene’s Beautiful Lengths campaign by Saunders & Co achieved and ultimately lead to their recognition at the 2013 Public Relations Institute of Australia (PRIA) Golden Target Award winning in the consumer marketing category.

The concept behind the Beautiful Lengths PR campaign involved women cutting off their hair and sending it to Pantene to be converted into a wig and gifted to women with cancer.

What made this campaign so successful was its ability to connect with publics. What made publics connect to this campaign was its integration with social media.

The Pantene social media connection:

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This campaign demonstrated best practice in PR as it successfully built upon the relationship between Pantene and their publics.  Women jumped on board this campaign as they saw the opportunity to contribute to a worthwhile cause whilst using social media to share their story and subsequently extend the campaign to a broader audience.

The Beautiful Lengths campaign successfully demonstrated PR best practice in stakeholder engagement yet somehow fell short in effective social media use.

The missing link:

The key feature of social media is its ability to facilitate two way communication.  Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Blogger, Pinterest or one of the other hundreds of social media sites, the one thing they all have in common is the capacity for conversation.

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The Beautiful Lengths campaign encouraged social media use among participants.  However it seems that the goal was simply to reach participants and not engage in the more personalised manner that social media allows.  In Australia only one of the Twitter hashtags seems to have been used and the @panteneANZ account has no recorded tweets.  The dedicated Beautiful Lengths Google+ account has had just 2 posts since May 2013.

Social media has seen a change in online users from passive to interactive; from viewer to creator.  Pantene has shown an effective way of building a relationship with publics however without the two way communication that social media thrives on, they have missed out on the opportunity to engage their audience on a deeper level.

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