Things are getting hairy at Harry Rosen

Who: Harry Rosen and Zulu Alpha Kilo, with Zulubot and Six Degrees for audio. Media by Cairns Oneil, public relations by Rick Byun.

What: “Different strokes,” a launch campaign for the retailer’s new line of grooming products—which it describes as “a next-generation evolution in response to men’s growing interest and investment in personal care.”

When & Where: The campaign launched this week with a stunt (more on that below), but the main thrust here is an online video series.

Why: It’s about generating buzz around Harry Rosen’s entry into grooming, a category it estimates at $140.8 billion globally and predicts will grow by 2.9% a year in Canada through 2027. According to the men’s grooming company Wahl, 40% of men 18-64 grew a beard during the pandemic, with more than half saying they plan to keep it.

How: The campaign launched with an attention-getting (albeit temporary) name change to “Hairy Rosen” on all of Harry Rosen’s social channels and employees’ email signatures, and even extended to the exterior signage of its flagship Toronto store. It naturally generated a lot of attention on social, where people lightly teased the brand.

“It was a great opportunity to have a bit of fun with the brand, especially since the name change worked so perfectly with the launch into the grooming category,” said Trinh Tham, Harry Rosen’s chief marketing officer and executive vice-president of marketing and ecommerce.

While a company’s name is obviously sacrosanct, Tham said there was strong internal support for the temporary change. “While this is the first time we have touched the Harry Rosen name or logo, Harry himself has always been known for taking chances and his good sense of humour.”

The retailer is supporting the launch with a content series featuring six men from different cultural and professional backgrounds, including guitarist Dan Kanter, TV host Joey Salmingo and Indigenous educator Michael Solomon, discussing their personal grooming routine.

About the grooming line: It’s comprised of more than 400 curated products—one quarter of which are Canadian—ranging in price from $8.50 all the way up to $440. It includes hard goods such as clippers, safety razors and brushes, to associated soft goods such as shampoos, pomades, shaving soap and beard oils.

Tham said that the product line was in development prior to the pandemic and its impact on fashion retail, and luxury retail in particular. “We had the vision to develop dropship capabilities and identified grooming as a key growth category for our business,” said Tham. “We carefully curated this assortment of grooming products to address the diverse grooming needs of men.”

And we quote: “For decades men’s grooming has been largely a ‘one size fits all’ industry. We’d all use the same razors, the same shaving cream, the same soaps etc. When in reality, what works for one man may not work for another. And that gap in understanding was largely because men wouldn’t typically talk about their grooming routines. Different Strokes aims to change the conversation around men’s grooming, by highlighting these personal stories. Because we all groom a little differently based on our unique hair, skin and even cultural background.” — Trinh Tham, chief marketing officer and executive vice-president of marketing and ecommerce, Harry Rosen

Chris Powell