If you were chatting with me via Twitter on Sunday evening during the airing of the 2013 Grammy Awards, then you witnessed my outrage about Herbal Essences first hand. As I sat and watched their most recent hair ad, featuring Nicole Scherzinger, I realized that “we” were once again being ignored as a consumer by this company. I’ve been very vocal about supporting Black owned businesses to which many of you opposed saying that if a product works then it works – no matter who makes it. While I can understand your opinion, companies like Herbal Essences is one of the reasons I will never fully agree with you. My huge issue with Herbal Essences is that WE are one of their largest consumers. “We” meaning Black women: me, you, us! Research shows that Black women spend a whopping half trillion dollars on hair! A corporate giant powered by Procter & Gamble like Herbal Essences pays a team of market researches – quite well I’m sure – to be informed of this type of information so I am positive that they are aware of the powerful impact Black women have on their bottom line.
Google “Herbal Essences Long Term Relationship”. You will see, once you scroll past the retail results, one of the TOP search results is a video from vlogger Megan (ULoveMegz) discussing her love for this product. Even MakeupAlley and Temptalia, review sites started by Caucasian women, have responses from Black women giving their approval for how well this product works for their hair. Now add the word “review” to your query. You’ll see posts from Naturally Curly, Jeni of Just Grow Already and Long Hair Care Forum – a site designed specifically for Black women. If I see how much of our money goes to this brand, I know they know.
While we have learned that there are products that weren’t originally formulated for our hair that work well for us, I refuse to ever support Herbal Essences again unless they completely change their marketing. Garnier Fructis, Pantene Pro-V and even L’oreal include us in their marketing campaigns. Along with women of other ethnicities, they have Black spokesmodels, Blacks starring in their commercials and include our hair concerns in their research. Not that we need to be the focus, but just include us. Acknowledge us as your consumer. Your competitors do it. I truly believe that Black women single handedly revitalized their company. After raving reviews were posted to various sites, the product would sell out in retailers around the country! How many times have you gone to the store to search for Long Term Relationship and it wasn’t there? How many people said they even wrote the company to find out more information about if the product was being discontinued? Wasn’t nobody checking for Herbal Essences before the way they are now.
In true ECP fashion, I went to their website to VOICE my concerns – ya’ll know I can champion a cause and believe in speaking my opinions to hopefully make a change. When I got to the site, my annoyance and disappointment was elevated. They have product reviewers – i.e. vloggers like you and I – featured on their site, women who they have chosen to send their products (free of charge of course) to share their experience with the brand. NOT ONE PERSON IS BLACK. You cannot tell me they didn’t search YouTube and see how many Black consumers they have. Just search Herbal Essences Long Term Relationship on YouTube – 7 of the first 10 results are from Black women. I cannot in good conscious continue to spend my dollars on a company that completely ignores me as a consumer. I even threw away the remaining HE LTR I had in my stash, that’s how upset I was.
I did indeed express my concerns in writing to their company and to their credit, I received a response in two days:
Herbal Essences takes pride in our multi-cultural endeavors and we enjoy the idea that our customers are made up of many ethnic groups. It is for this reason that we try and market our products for all different hair types. We apologize if our advertising does not appear to have reflected this philosophy.We appreciate your taking the time to share your suggestions for possible improvements to Herbal Essences’ advertising. While I can’t promise anything, many of our decisions to change or improve products and advertising are based on feedback from concerned consumers like you. Please be assured I’m sharing your recommendations with the rest of the Herbal Essences Team. Thanks again for getting in touch!
Herbal Essences Team
I call BULL! You do NOT market your products for all different hair types. I applaud you for hiring Nicole Scherzinger, but if that is your idea of representing minorities….you need to hire more Blacks and Latinos so they can explain it to you. I appreciate your response, but no thank you. Herbal Essences will not get one additional cent of my money. I’m not even sure if they do hire Black models for their ads and commercials if I will become their consumer again. This is just why I prefer Black owned companies. Bee Mine, Jane Carter – these are companies that will always have my money. Yes, I also use “other” products like Kerapro but I feel that they include me as a consumer so I do not feel badly about it.
What do you think about Herbal Essences? Let me know in the comments below.
If you are also upset by the lack of color representation by Herbal Essences, I urge you to let them know how you feel. Scroll to the bottom of the home page and you will see the “Contact Us” option.