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14 JUL. 2020

Freshlight, the Hair Cosmetic Brand that Leads the Kawaii Fashion

Corporate Branding team, Shanghai

When it comes to the term “Kawaii”, lolita outfits, sweet voices, or anything cute might immediately pop up in your mind. However, “Kawaii” is not just about cuteness alone, it’s much more than what you assumed.

Like many cosmetic brands blending the gender line and collaborating with male celebrities for beauty products, the hair cosmetic brand Freshlight, under the Henkel brandkicked-off an exploratory journey about Kawaii in Tokyo with Wang Ziyi(王子异), a member of the Chinese boy band Nine Percent. Wang Ziyi stared in the commercial for this campaign, going on a trip to Japan, the birthplace of Kawaii culture, chasing for the new definition of Kawaii led by Freshlight.

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Wang Ziyi, a member of the Chinese boy band Nine Percent (source: Sina Weibo)

What’s the definition of Kawaii? How do Japanese youngsters interpret Kawaii from their own perspectives? Is Kawaii only a term that belongs to lovely girls? 

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Freshlight had an exploratory journey about Kawaii in Tokyo (source: MiaoPai)

As a classic Kawaii fashion brand originating from Japan, how does Freshlight convey Kawaii in a unique way to young consumers? In this article, we will showcase the power of Freshlight by using our 4 Facets of Brand Positioning.

Truth: The Hair Cosmetic Brand that Leads the Kawaii Fashion


As the mother brand of Freshlight, Schwarzkopf is the top professional hair cosmetic brand with more than 120 years of trusted hair expertise. “Professional HairCare for You”, Schwarzkopf is driven by the passion for creating beautiful hair and is continuously reinventing hair fashion.

In 2004, hand-in-hand with the super famous collectible doll Blythe, Schwarzkopf launched a Kawaii fashion hair cosmetic brand: Freshlight. Inspired by the latest fashion trends in Japan, Freshlight is dedicated to developing in-trend, vibrant and fashion color shades as well as post color care treatments infused with long-lasting fragrance. It targets young consumers from 18 years onwards with an extensive range of colors; From the hair color cream, color spray, to its foam coloration, the brand is also making hair dyeing increasingly easier.

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The hair cosmetic brand Freshlight under Schwarzkopf (source: WeChat)

Unlike other professional hair care product lines under Schwarzkopf, the unique “Kawaii gene” has made Freshlight stand out in the fierce competition in the hair care industry, and successfully drawn attention amongst the young generation. 

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Blythe Doll (source: WeChat)

If the name “Blythe” doesn’t ring a bell, you must have seen the fashion doll with oversized head and big enchanting eyes, which changes both color and gaze with the pull of a string. The Blythe Doll was born in the United States in 1972 while its avant-garde look was not widely accepted by people at that time. This fashion doll was not prevalent until Gina Garan, a famous American photographer introduced it to Japan, where the Kawaii culture is deeply rooted in the land. Since then, Blythe Doll has achieved great success and gained a large number of fans among young girls—even the fashion giant Karl Lagerfeld has cooperated with Freshlight and released limited gift boxes with specially-designed Blythe Dolls.

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Karl Lagerfeld: “I can’t wait to take a picture with the Kawaii Blythe Dolls!” (source: kimiss.com)

Vision: Dare to Change and Embrace the Variety

Going out on a date? What about dyeing your hair in “Champagne Pink” that might make you the focus of the spotlight?

Want to look a bit different from others? Freshlight’s “Sugar Ash” would be a good choice, showing your distinctive taste.

Still complaining about hair coloring being too time-consuming? It’s time to give a shot at the super convenient bubble-based formula and get a trendy color “Cream Chiffon” at home.

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Freshen up your hair with Freshlight (source: WeChat)

Changing your hair color is discovering a different side of yourself. Letting consumers dye their hair in a handy and easy way, Freshlight strives to tell us that you shouldn’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone, and that everyone deserves a good makeover to explore more possibilities in hair styling.

In 2018, Freshlight signed Jiang Sida(姜思达) as the spokesman, who is known as a speaker in the Chinese debate competition “I Can I BB”(奇葩说) by his excellent performance and sharp perspectives. Besides being bold and open-minded, Jiang Sida also shows his edgy taste in personal styling. He is constantly switching to new looks and is always confident to pull off various kinds of style. That’s part of the reason why Freshlight seeks to collaborate with him. The brand wants to deliver the message to the consumers: Be fearless to express yourself in your own way.

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Freshlight x Jiang Sida (source: m.haiwainet.cn)

Universe: Re-define Kawaii for Kidults

Freshlight is targeting kidults who are young-at-heart. No matter you’re a college student or a professional woman, you may still secretly dream about being a princess one day. This is what Freshlight believes in, the forever young princess yearning at the bottom of your heart, a heart with fantasy and imaginations that leads consumers to a Kawaii world.

In 2018, Freshlight launched a pop-up shop called U Meng Lab(U萌实验室)in Shanghai, calling on consumers to step into the brand’s exclusive “Kawaii storm”. This special area consists of a series of chapters like flower walls, amusement park, lifestyle zone and make-up space, where consumers could fully immerse themselves into a pink world, enjoying the ice cream, playing the claw machine, as if they’re in the time machine back to a fantasy world filled with pure joy.

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Freshlight U Meng Lab in Shanghai (source: fashion.sina.com.cn)

As an advocate of Kawaii hair cosmetic philosophy, Freshlight hasn’t stopped thinking about what Kawaii truly means to people nowadays. Kawaii is more about the inner attitude towards life than the outward appearance: Learning to find a way to release the pressure; Having the power to heal yourself when facing distress; Sparing no efforts to make things getting better; Be unafraid to speak out your own voice… “Kawaii” is no longer the privilege of young girls, it’s a way in which everybody could enjoy and express themselves at any time—that’s what Freshlight wants to make consumers believe in, as the exploratory journey mentioned at the beginning.

Personality: A Typical Slashie with Full Vitality

Sweet and adorable outwards, Freshlight is the one who looks at life from diverse angles. She doesn’t stick to the status quo and is open-minded to embrace new challenges and surprises, showing her full vitality of youth.

In this day and age, the young generation are more prone to have multiple careers in their life and some of them shift between different roles in one day. They don’t want to be stuck in one job or position and is proud to be a “Slashie”. Freshlight is the one that encourages you to switch roles and be a Slashie in styling. Imagining you’re free from the heavy burden of work and ready for a weekend music festival, it’s time for a touch of vibrant color in your hair before heading to the show. You use Freshlightcolor spray to quickly add a piece of pink or purple, put on your edgy garment for Friday night-out, you’re ready to shine.

Conclusion

Behind the pinky Kawaii world, Freshlight is not merely focusing on bringing the Kawaii style to people, it is communicating with young consumers based on their voices and sentiments. While Kawaii being an inalienable part of Japanese culture, however, there has been more and more people questioning the overused term Kawaii, and even saying that the aggressive development of Kawaii culture in Japan is building cultural cachet overseas. People’s attitude towards Kawaii is gradually shifting from seeing it as a pure lovable aesthetic to a slightly mixed feeling.

Will Kawaii still sell out of Japan? Will Freshlight expand into the global market? Let’s see what’s the next move this brand will take, and how it will keep up with the young generation in the coming years.



About Going Deeper Than The Buzz

This article is from our "Going Deeper Than The Buzz" series, where we dig into the brand buzz by using the 4 Facets of Brand Positioning.

The 4 Facets model is meant to be universal in nature and is applicable to any brand in any industry. These apparently simple dimensions serve as a guide to pierce through the noise and help elucidate the underlying ambitions and motivations of the brand while revealing a wealth of exploratory possibilities.

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