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My gripe with Herbal Essences

EbonyCPrincess

Well-Known Member
I know there are a lot of women who LOVE Herbal Essences - Long Term Relationship, Totally Twisted, Hello Hydration, etc. I HAD an appreciation for them as well...until Sunday night.

During the Grammys, I saw their new commercial (which was heavily promoted) featuring Nicole Scherzinger, whose hair I love. But what really annoyed me is that they have never (to my knowledge) featured Black women in their commercials or ads.

For those who aren't aware, HE is owned by Procter & Gamble, a corporate giant, so I refuse to believe that their marketing team and researchers are unaware of how many of "us" use their products. A quick google and/or YouTube search returns results from several v/bloggers of color and even a couple threads from this very forum.

I know there are some women who aren't concerned with buying from Black owned companies as long as the product works. I can understand that when the company ACKNOWLEDGES me as a consumer. As I said in tonight's blog post, L'oreal, Pantene Pro-V, Garnier Fructis - these are all "majority" owned companies that includes minorities in their marketing campaigns. We don't have to be the star but a cameo in a commercial from a brown skinned girl just once in a while would be nice from Herbal Essences.

I wrote them to express my disappointment, and they replied quickly with a very politically correct answer, which I was very dissatisfied with. I can't say LETS ALL BOYCOTT HERBAL ESSENCES but I know personally I will not be spending any more more of my money with them nor will I recommend them to anyone from here on out.

This isn't about promoting my site at all - but for those who wish to read more here's the link to my blog on this topic:
My Huge Issue with Herbal Essences
 

faithVA

Well-Known Member
Do you usually get a more specific response from big companies? I'm just asking. I am not familiar with the process.
 

EbonyCPrincess

Well-Known Member
Do you usually get a more specific response from big companies? I'm just asking. I am not familiar with the process.

Do I personally or do people who write to big companies in general? I'm not sure I understand your question...

The way I interpret it is - you're asking what did I expect? If that's correct then you are right, a PC answer is what I expected. And I do appreciate them for even responding. However what I would have WANTED to see happen is for them to say we value you as a consumer and your opinions are important to us. Hopefully we can make some changes in the future to better include EVERYONE. And yes, I have had the latter happen before.

Let me know if that isn't actually what you were asking.
 

faithVA

Well-Known Member
^^Something like that. I briefly read your blog and it seemed like something you may have done before. So just wanted to know how their response compared to some others you may have gotten. I was just curious.

It will be interesting to see if anything comes of it. A boycott may not work, but bombarding them with emails, phone calls and mail might.
 

leiah

New Member
Have they used models at all in their ads before her? I can't remember any since the real old shower commercials.

They definitely chose nicole whatshername because she has an ambiguous ethnic look and they want to appeal to a wide range of people. I would love to see a kinky haired black woman in their ads but I'm glad they're making a little effort
 

*CherryPie*

Well-Known Member
I don't see anything wrong with their response. They can't promise you that they'll put black people in their commercials/ADs. What they DID say is that people like you who write to them DO influence the outcome somewhat.
 

Miss AJ

New Member
As pro black as I am, this is one of those things that I don't get inflamed over. I mean let's be honest, there was a time when u ONLY saw blacks on TV as maids and slaves, so because u didnt see any black actors in any toilet paper commercials, would u stop buying toilet paper? No lol. I'm not trying to bash you or your cause, just expressing MY opinion on the subject. I do try my best to support black owned businesses but most of the products I use ARE marketed toward white consumers. I love Tresemme but I am not gonna stop using their amazing products because they don't have black women in their commercials. I know white women that use "ethnic" products and it's KNOWN that some of them do, but u don't see white women in those commercials because technically that's not the target audience. Just because u don't see white women in the ads doesn't mean they can't use the product if it works for them and the same goes for black women using products marketed toward white/non ethnic women. Even if they put ONE black woman in an ad every blue moon, still doesn't change the fact that the target audience is white people. Look at Garnier Fructis...

ETA: I see in your blog where it says black women spend a half trillion dollars in hair care but where does herbal essences fit in with that number? Is this an overall, general statistic or is this number specific to a certain company? I DO agree that when you search YouTube a number of black women will come up and they are reviewing HE products BUT, they are a small number of consumers. Not to say that they don't matter but u kinda have to look at things from a business/marketing perspective. The idea is to appeal to the MAJORITY of your consumers.

ETA AGAIN: Again, I am all for supporting black owned companies, but NOT when they are trying to charge me $30 for an 8 oz bottle of conditioner. The companies u mentioned in your blog are too rich for my blood and so are several others that weren't mentioned.
 
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OhTall1

Well-Known Member
However what I would have WANTED to see happen is for them to say we value you as a consumer and your opinions are important to us. Hopefully we can make some changes in the future to better include EVERYONE.
Other than mentioning your value as a customer, the letter basically says what you wanted it to say, so I'm not sure why you're mad.
 

SimJam

Well-Known Member
I honestly could not care less who or what is in a commercial. If it works an has the ingredients I like, im all over it.

I guess its all up to personal conviction

Sent from my Galaxy Tab 2 using LHCF
 

30something

Well-Known Member
HE only do commercials exclusively with their spokesperson. They would have to dethrone Nicole whatever her last name is with a black women. I don't know who they would use that will show their real hair that is also "current", not saying they are not out there just I personally do not know. Last black spokesman they had for HE was Ashanti maybe they can find someone like her again.

I think this argument would be better suited for companies like TRESemme who actually have multiple women in their video and don't have a spokesperson.
 

MusicandWine

New Member
This is a non-issue.

If you know there are better products on the market that meet your standards in every way then buy those products and be happy.
 

AmyRose92

Well-Known Member
I feel that certain commericals for products don't portray women of color for the simple fact that the majority of women of color don't use them in the first place. When your average black woman learns that there aren't just "products for white people" (my mom would tell me this as a little girl when I asked her to buy L'Oreal Kids Shampoo because of the commercials) and look beyond the "ethnic" section of the hair product isle, maybe then companies will acquiesce.
 

Ogoma

Well-Known Member
I think it is a worthy cause and I am happy you contacted them. The dismissive and defensive responses in this thread are very weird. It is well within your right to be unsatisfied with their response. The more people like you, the greater representation we have.

All hair has the same general structure with different properties. All these companies market products for different properties (coarse, fine, dry, damaged, etc) so there is no reason to think they are not or should not be marketed to us. Also, HE has used a variety of models in their ads for the other line that includes LTR, HIS, etc.

I can afford to and will continue to support black-owned abd woman-owned businesses as much as I can. There are many great ones out there. Everyone should make the best decisions for them taking into account their pocketbook and priorities.
 

MusicandWine

New Member
I think it is a worthy cause and I am happy you contacted them. The dismissive and defensive responses in this thread are very weird. It is well within your right to be unsatisfied with their response. The more people like you, the greater representation we have.

All hair has the same general structure with different properties. All these companies market products for different properties (coarse, fine, dry, damaged, etc) so there is no reason to think they are not or should not be marketed to us. Also, HE has used a variety of models in their ads for the other line that includes LTR, HIS, etc.

I can afford to and will continue to support black-owned abd woman-owned businesses as much as I can. There are many great ones out there. Everyone should make the best decisions for them taking into account their pocketbook and priorities.

Why is it weird?

I've seen this issue come up many times since I began paying attention to haircare and I have never understood why, with so many new black owned companies on the rise, we continue to get upset over these big brands because they don't showcase us. I don't need big brands to feign concern about us by featuring black women in their ads, I don't understand what a black woman in an HE ad should do for me. It wouldn't make me feel more or less inclined to purchase their products, I'm not affected by marketing in that way so maybe that's why I can't understand the anger. And, I also don't feel that companies who use black women in their ads are showing their black consumers appreciation by doing so, I always think they are just trying to get more black people to buy into their brand.

I don't see what's dismissive about giving business to the companies who are doing all the things you personally want right and being happy that black people have decided to take matters into our own hands by creating quality products made specifically for us. Without some of these awesome black owned companies I might be a little concerned. I just can't be bothered being angry that there aren't black women in haircare ads for companies who never showed an interest in our specific hair type. However, if Shea Moisture began using only white women in their ads I will be pissed.
 

Napp

Ms. Nobody
i cant get upset over products i dont even like.....

i think their commercials were funny though
 

AlliCat

New Member
Hey ECP!

There are so many products, makeup, clothing lines etc I always buy from that don't promote black people in their ads. It really never stopped me from buying what works but its definitely something to think about
 

ChocolatePie777

Well-Known Member
As another poster said...ashanti was a spokesperson for he so there have been black people....and they only shoot commercials with their spokespeople so.....that in itself speaks a lot for this issue for me....and since their main consumers are white people any way I dont see the problem really
...hell nicole is a person of color....but does that translate to something like because a lot of persians or indians or whatever she is buy a lot of their products that they hired her...... I doubt it......its just hair
 

EbonyCPrincess

Well-Known Member
As pro black as I am, this is one of those things that I don't get inflamed over. I mean let's be honest, there was a time when u ONLY saw blacks on TV as maids and slaves, so because u didnt see any black actors in any toilet paper commercials, would u stop buying toilet paper? No lol. I'm not trying to bash you or your cause, just expressing MY opinion on the subject. I do try my best to support black owned businesses but most of the products I use ARE marketed toward white consumers. I love Tresemme but I am not gonna stop using their amazing products because they don't have black women in their commercials. I know white women that use "ethnic" products and it's KNOWN that some of them do, but u don't see white women in those commercials because technically that's not the target audience. Just because u don't see white women in the ads doesn't mean they can't use the product if it works for them and the same goes for black women using products marketed toward white/non ethnic women. Even if they put ONE black woman in an ad every blue moon, still doesn't change the fact that the target audience is white people. Look at Garnier Fructis...

ETA: I see in your blog where it says black women spend a half trillion dollars in hair care but where does herbal essences fit in with that number? Is this an overall, general statistic or is this number specific to a certain company? I DO agree that when you search YouTube a number of black women will come up and they are reviewing HE products BUT, they are a small number of consumers. Not to say that they don't matter but u kinda have to look at things from a business/marketing perspective. The idea is to appeal to the MAJORITY of your consumers.

ETA AGAIN: Again, I am all for supporting black owned companies, but NOT when they are trying to charge me $30 for an 8 oz bottle of conditioner. The companies u mentioned in your blog are too rich for my blood and so are several others that weren't mentioned.

Miss AJ Thanks for your response. I don't know regarding statistics specific to companies....honestly I don't even know how I (as a general consumer) would be able to find that information. I'm not sure if you are asking for real or just as food for thought. If the latter, that is a good point however, I would still argue that if we are spending more money than any other market group then I would think our contributions to their bottom dollar would be significant even if not the most.

I know so many people say that supporting black owned companies is expensive. And granted I do spend my money on what is considered by many as "pricier" brands. However there are a lot of cheaper brands out there that are available in the local BSS...mine is from a "relaxed" hair standpoint but here are just a few to support my claim:

Dudley's, Luster, Design Essentials, Nairobi, Curls, OBI Naturals (newer to me, but definitely less expensive than most "boutique" brands), Clear Essense, Bronner Brothers (who makes the new 4 Naturals line), Summit...

Granted I do feel some Black entrepreneurs are getting caught up in the "natural" movement and overcharging for products. I don't mean the natural hair - natural ingredient based products. But I think if it is important to you to support Black owned companies, you easily can without breaking the bank.
 

EbonyCPrincess

Well-Known Member
Other than mentioning your value as a customer, the letter basically says what you wanted it to say, so I'm not sure why you're mad.

I never remember saying I was mad, but that's one way of looking at it. At least they responded, which I do appreciate.

I honestly could not care less who or what is in a commercial. If it works an has the ingredients I like, im all over it.

I guess its all up to personal conviction

Sent from my Galaxy Tab 2 using LHCF

This....I don't understand. I am not passing judgement but when it doesn't matter whether or not you spend your money on a Black owned company or one that supports and/or employs Blacks, honestly that mindset puzzles me.

HE only do commercials exclusively with their spokesperson. They would have to dethrone Nicole whatever her last name is with a black women. I don't know who they would use that will show their real hair that is also "current", not saying they are not out there just I personally do not know. Last black spokesman they had for HE was Ashanti maybe they can find someone like her again.

I think this argument would be better suited for companies like TRESemme who actually have multiple women in their video and don't have a spokesperson.

Very true, and I never realized their commercials only have ONE person. Good points.

I think it is a worthy cause and I am happy you contacted them. The dismissive and defensive responses in this thread are very weird. It is well within your right to be unsatisfied with their response. The more people like you, the greater representation we have.

All hair has the same general structure with different properties. All these companies market products for different properties (coarse, fine, dry, damaged, etc) so there is no reason to think they are not or should not be marketed to us. Also, HE has used a variety of models in their ads for the other line that includes LTR, HIS, etc.

I can afford to and will continue to support black-owned abd woman-owned businesses as much as I can. There are many great ones out there. Everyone should make the best decisions for them taking into account their pocketbook and priorities.

Yeah, I mean that's the nature of this forum, no matter what the issue there are going to be people who come into the thread to give flippant devil's advocate responses. I don't mind disagreeing with my opinion or even being wrong, but the whole "I could care less" attitude always puzzles me. I do hope if nothing else my speaking out about the issue brings awareness and causes them to reconsider their marketing strategy. Many will say my little opinion doesn't matter - and maybe it doesn't - but I've also seen some things change when one or more people voice their views on something so, we'll see.
 

EbonyCPrincess

Well-Known Member
Hey ECP!

There are so many products, makeup, clothing lines etc I always buy from that don't promote black people in their ads. It really never stopped me from buying what works but its definitely something to think about

AlliCat - hey girl!!! Very true! And honestly it does cause me not to buy from them. I'm a lighter skinned woman and if a cosmetic company doesn't carry colors to match "us" I don't buy anything from them. Of course that's more relative because so many lines are owned by the same parent company but you are right to say this issue doesn't exist in just hair products but the beauty industry overall.
 

KittyMeowMeow

Well-Known Member
The reason small companies have to charge so much is because they use natural ingredients (more expensive), and because when you buy ingredients in small quantities, you have to pay more for each. Women who make things, as a whole tend to want their products to be affordable and for people to be able to use them, and I very much doubt most of these black women are trying to gouge other black women. I don't mind paying a little more knowing my money is helping a real person and not paying slave wages in asia somewhere.

On the HE - their loss!!! They are crazy if they are aware that black women with healthy long hair are using their products and they aren't using that their marketing. All they would have to do is throw a real bw or two or three with long hair who uses HE in some testimonial style commercials and watch the money roll in.
 

EnExitStageLeft

Well-Known Member
I think a majority of these companies are just now becoming aware of the impact the "black" hair community make. When I seen that Pantene had come out with a Cowash condish I laughed because while I knew it was nothing but a marketing ploy, it showed that they took an initiative to appeal to our market.

Herbal Essences may come around. However, if they don't its not necessarily something I'd be upset about. Then again maybe if I was one of their consumers I'd care more.
 
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greenandchic

Well-Known Member
For me personally, its a non-issue. I don't remember the last time I actually saw any television commercials(only watch DVDs) and I only "read" old magazines when I'm searching for photos and text for my vision boards. I don't make decisions about what I purchase from advertisements because I hardly see any. I do see ads, but they are on this and other websites. I ignore 90% of them by nature.

Almost all products I use on my hair, I read about here and other hair hair boards. Youtube is my source of advertising. :lol:

I guess my point is, since I'm generally not embroiled in the advertising world I'm not affected by the lack of representation.
 

spelmanlocks

Well-Known Member
I applaud what you did. I have written two companies (non-hair related) in the past about there lack of black representation. A smart company should jump on the opportunity to expand to other groups.
 

prettyinpurple

Well-Known Member
I dunno.

It sounds like you're saying Nicole Scherzinger is not enough WOC for you and you need someone who is certified black or AA. Someone who looks black to you. They're not gonna have a spokesperson to meet every ethnicity. I think Nicole provides a lot of cross over appeal to people of various skin tones tbh.

Someone did mentioned they used Ashanti before. Interesting and I didn't know that. Makes your rant kinda moot.

Now if you argued that they should use more spokespersons with different hair textures -- I could understand. I'd rather go that route than say you need more black people in your ads. I'm more interested in how products work on different hair types than seeing a black spokesperson. Again you could incorporate people from a lot ethnicities with varying hair textures.

But if you're gonna be mad, be mad at Suave. They make a ton of $ with those .99 conditioners that people love for co-washing. They owe us some marketing time lol.

Wait, Tresemme too like someone mentioned. Y'all love that naturals conditioner.

JMO.
 
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