Elmwood defend controversial L'Oréal ‘shag’ campaign

Brand design consultancy Elmwood has leapt to the defence of cosmetics brand L'Oréal after its latest campaign in France fell afoul of the Daily Mail for urging women to request a ‘shag’ when having their hair done.

A play on words saw L'Oréal highlight the shag cut pioneered by New York stylist Paul McGregor back in the seventies, allowing them to raise a titter by extolling the virtues of a ‘blonde shag’ or a ‘black shag’.

Poster advertisements run by the firm using brunette and blonde models read ‘only your hairdresser can achieve the blonde/black shag’.

Citing one unnamed creative director the Mail said the camapign was ‘bizarre’, ‘pointless’ and ‘puerile’ and ran the risk of damaging the L'Oréal brand.

However Elmwood Leeds MD, Sarah Dear, commented: "The controversy surrounding the latest L'Oréal campaign is, in my opinion, a storm in a teacup.

"Ultimately, the brand has capitalised on a crude word to create a campaign that would capture attention. The campaign has achieved that but I think the real question the brand team at L'Oréal should ask themselves is how well the campaign tells the brand story.

"Does it convey what L'Oréal stands for to consumers or is it just grabbing headlines?"

A L'Oréal spokesperson said: “The poster in question is from a French campaign. It has international terminology and spelling and was not distributed by L’Oréal in the UK."

Join us, it's free.

Become a member to get access to:

  • Exclusive Content
  • Daily and specialised newsletters
  • Research and analysis

Join us, it’s free.

Want to read this article and others just like it? All you need to do is become a member of The Drum. Basic membership is quick, free and you will be able to receive daily news updates.