The Millionaire Next Door

Bad Hair Day!

I have noticed in the last week or so that I have felt more excited, proud, interested and attentive.  Conversely, I have felt less hostile, ashamed, nervous, jittery and guilty.  I thought this euphoria might have something to do with the upswings in the sales of my books or possibly the new Toyota 2010 4-Runner brochure I received.  But then I discovered what must be the real source of these heightened emotions-a change in my shampoo! 

About a week ago I found a bottle of Pantene “Serious Care for Beautiful Hair” shampoo in our shower and started using it.  I haven’t had a bad hair day since.  And then I read this insightful article in The Wall Street Journal which explained how Procter and Gamble went to extraordinary lengths to study how it can encourage more consumers to buy Pantene products.  Spending heavily on marketing research seems to be well worth the effort.  According to the article, P&G’s Pantene has $3 billion in sales.  In P&G’s latest study, it surveyed nearly 3,400 women and had them rank the intensity they experience regarding 20 emotions relative to their hair.  Bad hair was found to be associated with the emotions of hostility, shame and irritability.  P&G went as far as to hire a Yale University professor of psychology to analyze the survey results.  The professor, Dr. LaFrance, found ” ‘bad hair negatively influences self esteem, brings out social insecurities, and causes people to concentrate on negative aspects of themselves.”  Who knew?

Of course I’m sure that P&G’s promotional messages about Pantene will promise the end to “bad hair days.” As a consequence, it is implied that users will experience enhanced self esteem.  And I thought that one had to build wealth and become financially independent to do the same. 

In Stop Acting Rich,  I mentioned the following:

“My mentor, the distinguished profesor of marketing, Dr. Bill Darden, often told his graduate students:

Get ready to compete in the marketplace with some real talent. The really brilliant ones in America don’t work for the State Department. Not even in medical science labs.  The great minds are working in marketing, designing ways of . . . convincing us that one brand of a hemorrhoid remedy is superior to another . . . that one wash detergent will produce whiter whites-thus assuring Mom will continue to be loved and admired by her husband and kids.

He was quite serious when saying this. If Bill were still with us today and we could ask him to evaluate the marketing efforts associated with the liquor [or hair care] industry,  he would likely tell us that, clearly, some of the best of the very best minds in America are at work marketing liquor [shampoo].”



5 thoughts on “Bad Hair Day!”

  1. Emotional ties to certain products are always a huge win for companies that try to brand their products. Young single men using Axe body spray don’t care much about the particular scent that has been formulated to smell like a locker room (in my opinion) they want the women to flock after them as they make their way across the dance floors. Jif doesn’t sell peanut butter, they sell “Quality Parenting”. And Mercedes doesn’t sell vehicles, they sell “Status”. We better watch how we buy and for what reasons. On the other hand we also better watch how we sell – people want our products and services, but probably not for the reasons that are surface-level-obvious to us.

  2. Love reading your blog…Some of the great minds are also working in the auto industry and they are targeting young families who are concerned with appearance. My family was caught up in this “Being cooler than the Jones’s” about 6 years ago…but thanks to Dave Ramsey and people like you we are awake and aware that being cool isn’t what it is cracked up to be…too bad most of my generation are drawn to these ads because appearance is more important than being debt free.

  3. Pingback: Mindfulness, Well-Being, and Shopping: Can Being Aware Impact Our Spending? - DataPoints

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