Sunsilk Users Recruit Friends for Color Showdown

Sunsilk Users Recruit Friends for Color Showdown
April 24, 2007
The battle between hot blondes and sassy brunettes wages on as Sunsilk inspires healthy competition with fun videos, cat-fights and helpful hair tips.
Creative Notes
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Campaign Details
Client: Unilever's Sunsilk
Creative Agency: JWT
Media Agency: Mindshare Chicago
Campaign Insight
In order to answer the age-old question of who is better: blondes or brunettes?, Sunsilk created the Color Showdown, a campaign to ignite conversation about hair color rivalry while launching our newest line of products: the Sunsilk Color Collections.

The primary objective was to establish Sunsilk, a relatively new hair care brand in the U.S. market, as a significant player in the color enhancement segment. To accomplish this, we became the first brand to tap into this prominent insight into the lives of our target market: that they associate strongly with their hair color, even going so far as to identify with a particular shade of hair color.

This integrated, 360-degree campaign combined TV commercials, print ads, online media, and, at the hub of it all,, an experiential site that allows consumers to help us decide once and for all who has the advantage.

On, users can play games that pit blondes and brunettes against each other, view the results of our highly-scientific Secret Experiments, and earn real-time points to contribute to their hair color's quest for dominance.

Though the campaign is still in early stages (monthly updates to the site, including new Secret Experiments and games, continue through May), the response has already met our expectations in terms of igniting a social dialogue. We've heard from both the blondes and the brunettes, as well as a whole crop of redheads who want to know how they can join in the debate.
-- Sarah Jensen, director, Unilever Hair Care

Editor's Note
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The Panel
Color Showdown is a hip, well-thought-out advergaming opportunity for the off-the-shelf hair color buyer to engage in a battle promoting blonde/brunette stereotypes while she literally fights for her right to assume the hair color or her choice!

Sunsilk presents the American beauty hair color rivalry in a humorous way that encourages word-of-mouth viral marketing via "recruit a blonde" and "recruit a brunette" options. Throughout, the website, logos and color schemas are woven across interactive games, hair color tips, MySpace add-ons and a variety of multi-media tools to enable target participants to live the brand at every touch point.

It also employs a stereotypical representation of male hair dressers providing catty commentary on the rivalry to round out the parody. Who wouldn't want what is referred to as "hairapy" from these guys? They are hysterical.

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My only critique of the fun Sunsilk campaign is the time required to load the site and games. Logging in on the road made it difficult to enjoy the campaign to its full potential.
-- Lana McGilvray, VP of marketing, Datran Media

Sunsilk's Color Showdown does not suffer from a lack of great content, but it does suffer a little from a lack of focus. The site feels like the unfiltered results of a brainstorming session with lots of talented and creative people. There is so much to do, but not much to tie the pieces together. I don't normally say this, but I think this site could have benefited from having less content. I think this is a case where the whole is less than its parts.

Pros: The design, especially those elements that extended the mood of the TV spot, like the elongated rounded hexagon shape repeated throughout, the mod 70s interiors and the silhouetted blonde and brunette characters. The jokes about blondes. The hysterical short behind the scenes videos. Great visitor activity stats…but is this a demographic that is stats obsessed?

(click to view)
Cons: Too many similar but slightly different navigational elements. Uninspired game. Downloadable wallpapers and buddy icons (these always feel like filler). The jokes about brunettes.

So an "A" for effort and an "A" for execution, but a "C" editing and organizing all the great stuff here into a cohesive site.
-- Patrick Barrett, senior interaction designer, Bazaarvoice
Footnote: Submissions are judged by a panel of industry experts from and based on the following criteria: how the creative captures the specific customer; how it meets the brand's business needs; impact of execution; and creativity. If you would like your creative considered for Creative Showcase, send an email to