Hair Care Brands Switch Marketing Tactics To Survive Natural Hair Movement

June 18, 2013  |  

TV, magazine, and billboard advertisements add up to millions of dollars, but sending over free samples for vloggers to give rave reviews cut huge costs in advertising dollars for Black hair corporations. Realizing that these companies are taking advantage of YouTube vloggers for free advertising, bushy-haired beauty Taren Guy wasn’t having it.

“When your numbers grow and your value grows, there has to be some kind of point where the free products for free reviews stop,” Guy said, “a conversation should start happening for compensation.” In a passionate YouTube rant titled “The Ugly Truth About Youtube & Business“, Guy continued to add that YouTube vloggers have become more powerful than the commercial and billboard slots because of their engagement and how they relate to their viewers.

“You didn’t see commercials on YouTube a couple years ago. They’re noticing the power of Web presence,” she says. They waste obscene amounts of marketing dollars on less-effective commercials, but don’t want to pay YouTube hair gurus–with a niche audience–who rake in more sales.

Some of the products featured on YouTube, such as the “Q-Redew” that NikkiMae2003 recently reviewed, are not even worth the buck. It’s priced at $70 and the fancy-looking gadget is used to simply moisturize one’s hair. A spray bottle filled with water can do that for a dollar. While many have moved away from perms and weaves to escape the expense, many naturals find themselves walking right back into a money-eating industry.

Miss Jessie’s and Carol’s Daughter, two hugely popular natural brands, didn’t need TV spots to become profitable. Countless reviews on YouTube took their fame to new heights even though Miss Jessie’s Buttercream (16oz) and Carol’s Daughter Macadamia Hold (2.2oz) retail for a painful $60 and $22, respectively. Yikes!

Web presence is taking marketing precedence for African-American women because we have become more selective over the years. With YouTube videos and hair forums informing us about ingredients to avoid putting in our hair, natural hair women are more conscious about what they buy.

A magazine ad declaring a product’s awesomeness just isn’t enough anymore. We now take to the Internet to Google product reviews to make enlightened decisions about buying new hair care products. We want to know who has tried it and if it was effective. Does it smell good? Is it moisturizing? Does it have good hold for styling our hair? Does it contain harmful substances? These are some of the many questions that vague TV commercials and magazine ads cannot answer.

We are ultimately changing the face of advertising and forcing them to meet our demands that we present on blogs, social media, and YouTube. Our forums are filled with talks of the benefits of coconut oil, Shea butter, and Argan oil and other earthy ingredients. Hearing our cries, countless hair companies have implemented these oils and butters into their recipes, in turn, we’re buying into their products.

As U.S. Census director Dr. Robert Grabes said in last year’s Black Consumer Report, “The delivering of a message about a product…is best done when the advertiser understands the lens through which a consumer is viewing the culture they’re in.”


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