Historically, home haircutting has been a tough sell to consumers and media; however, to say 2020 was an exception would be an understatement. Stay-at-home orders due to COVID-19 created an unprecedented, and unexpected, demand for hair clippers. So, how do you keep interest piqued, even though products are scarce? That’s the unique challenge Hoffman York helped Wahl navigate.
First-time haircutters were coming out of the woodwork; some were excited, some were nervous, but all were looking to learn and engage. It was a ripe yet tenuous climate, so Hoffman York carefully crafted an approach that would maximize the once-in-a-lifetime attention Wahl was facing. The idea included:
Partnering with a platinum recording artist
Leveraging celebrity relationships
Publicizing how-to content
Hoffman York positioned Wahl in front of the home-haircutting wave that was made necessary due to COVID-19. By finding new and fun ways to engage with consumers, as well as by providing needed guidance, Hoffman York helped solidify Wahl as a trusted authority. These efforts proved successful with high-profile media coverage, big-time social media engagements, and record-breaking site traffic.
Social Media Engagements
YoY Website Traffic Increase
Home haircutting was HOT the summer of 2020, but got really COOL when Wahl partnered with platinum recording artists lovelytheband on their new song ‘buzz cut.’ While social media pulsed as millions bonded over buzz cuts, Wahl became engrained in a song that would become an affirmative anthem during a tumultuous time.
The serendipitous partnership included product placement in the music video, which featured a woman buzzing her friend’s hair with a Wahl Elite Pro Clipper. And in addition to collaborating on media outreach, the three-man band also created content around grooming tips for their social media pages, including an Instagram Live event, a product giveaway contest and an interactive Instagram filter that allowed users to join in and ‘buzz’ their hair along to the soundtrack.
Hoffman York leveraged relationships with celebrity stylists to secure Wahl product integrations with their celebrity clients during on-air interviews, or for content on social media channels. One partnership included prominent product exposure during an Instagram Live haircutting tutorial with Tom Holland for his more than 40 million followers. The Instagram Live proved to be so engaging media outlets like Allure, Insider and Refinery29 picked up the story.
The Bachelor host Chris Harrison also agreed to let a stylist guide his home-haircut for a segment on Entertainment Tonight in front of more than 5 million viewers.
How-to content publicity
With hair clippers sold out across the country, Hoffman York’s PR efforts pivoted from ‘buy-now’ to ‘how-to.’ Pitches and press materials positioned Wahl as an expert resource for first-time haircutters. Traffic to ‘how-to’ content on Wahl’s website increased 1,860% YoY, and a media frenzy ensued with coverage in hundreds of top outlets like HuffPost, Men’s Health, GQ, AdWeek, TMZ and Vanity Fair.