Suavenomics: A New Spin on Stimulus Lingo

Suave is offering people a free bottle of shampoo today only, January 14, via a slick marketing campaign it calls “Suavenomics.” Go to to grab your freebie.

Here’s an excerpt from the press release:

Suave, America’s leading value beauty brand, is issuing a Beauty Stimulus Package on Jan. 14th and for one day is offering every American a free full-size bottle of Suave. Consumers can log on to on Jan. 14th for details on how to receive a free bottle of the brand’s high performance hair or skin products.

“In this economic climate, shoppers realize more than ever the importance of getting great value for the dollar — without sacrificing on quality,” says David Rubin, Marketing Director, Unilever. “That’s what Suave has always stood for — high quality products that don’t break the bank. Americans are literally washing money down the drain on overpriced beauty products — by our calculations, consumers could have collectively saved $5.5 billion dollars in 2008 by buying Suave over more expensive brands*. So learn about Suavenomics, be a savvy shopper, and live beautifully for less.”

A Look at how Americans are Spending and Saving

To keep a pulse on shoppers and their changing mindset in this current economy, the brand conducted the Suavenomics Spending Survey** of 1,000 American moms in December 2008. The survey revealed that an overwhelming number of American families are proactively seeking out values, with almost all — a whopping 97 percent — reportedly looking for more ways to save now versus a year ago.

Nearly three-quarters (74 percent) of families are more worried about their finances than they were a year ago and almost all (95 percent) agreed that they are looking for products that give more “bang for the buck” in the current climate. In fact, the majority (two-thirds) agree they do not have to spend a lot of money to get high quality products.

I love this press release. It is so telling of tactics that work in a bad economy. Suave has always been around as a budget brand, a hair shy of generic, nicely scented, geared at people who care about cost more than upmarket hair. In good times, there’s no reason to pay attention to the brand.

Now, however, they’re offering a free bottle, informed-sounding statistics, and slick, news-y catchphrases that fit their product’s goal like a glove. Only in a bad economy can a combination of news, statistics, and a free bottle of shampoo garner the kind of hype that Suavenomics is today.

I clicked onto the homepage to see what else they had going. On it, I found a row images of mothers with their children. Each image navigates to a video of said mom talking about her beauty needs (the one I navigated to wants to look glam again), and how a Suave stylist helped her achieve the look, on a budget, with Suave products. It reminds me of the before/after testimonials that sometimes appear in magazines. Another nice move by Unilever, targeting budget- and image-conscious moms.

Heck, in this economy, the company could focus on a variety of demographics: Teens, college students, freelancers, unemployed people, about anyone who is skimping big-time on spending. This is certainly a discounter’s heyday. Props to Unilever for knowing how to take advantage of the opportunity.

Written by Drea Knufken

Drea Knufken

Currently, I create and execute content- and PR strategies for clients, including thought leadership and messaging. I also ghostwrite and produce press releases, white papers, case studies and other collateral.