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Tangle Teezer

Award-Winning PR | Hair-raising research tackles underrepresentation and wins hearts.

As a novel start-up in a poorly-researched space, we needed to validate the problems Whirli is solving. Sapio Research were fantastic partners from start to finish – creative in brainstorming angles, careful in designing the questions, and rigorous in analysing the results. The research brought a wealth of insights, backed by hard figures, for our business decision making and for us to talk about publicly in the press.

Nigel Phan
Founder
Whirli

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The brief

Tangle Teezer wanted to create an authentic emotional connection with the natural hair community. They hired Don’t Cry Wolf to create an activism campaign to celebrate Black and afro hair, engage the natural hair community, and improve representation.

Knowing that the right tone and angle would be crucial to the campaign, Don’t Cry Wolf commissioned Sapio Research to:

  • Understand perceptions of beauty and representation through media and literature.
  • Create content to support the launch of Tangle Teezer’s HairyTales.
  • Inform the creation of a new line of brushes for kids with Black heritage hairstyles.

Create an authentic emotional connection with the natural hair community

1,800 online interviews with self-identified Black parents and children (aged 6-17) across the UK and US

What we did

To reach the heart of the target audience, we conducted 1,800 online interviews with self-identified Black parents and children (aged 6-17) across the UK and US.

We used a series of images to gather perceptions of beauty from children of Black ethnicities aged 6-17 and their parents.

A considered analysis provided thought-provoking data and headline statistics to enable Tangle Teezer to start relevant conversations with their desired audience.

Key findings

The research revealed that more than half of Black parents in the US (51%) and the UK (59%) said Black characters in books usually play on stereotypes and negatively depict Black culture.

We also learned that the target audience comprises avid readers, with books and literature being their 5th most popular topic of conversation. But only 12% of children’s books in the US and 2% in the UK feature Black characters.

The outcome

Research insights inspired Don’t Cry Wolf to help children see more heroes who look like them through bedtime stories. The solution would engage the whole family and tackle the genuine problem of underrepresentation.

Enter HairyTales, a series of books that re-write classic fairy tales—placing Black protagonists and afro-textured hair centre stage.

Our research also enabled Tangle Teezer to launch a new hairbrush line alongside the PR campaign.

Best Selling, Multiple-Award-Winning Results

The campaign was a rip-roaring success!

  • 300 press and influencer coverage pieces, including three one-minute segments on ABC’s Good Morning America and BBC News.
  • Over 60,000 site visits to the publisher’s site following the TV segments.
  • A subsequent distribution deal with one of USA’s top department stores.
  • One of the books was adapted into an animated video with over 250,000 views on YouTube.
  • Don’t Cry Wolf report a 10 x bigger return on investment compared to other Tangle Teezer YouTube content.

“Over half a million people in our target audience took action by buying books, watching the film or engaging directly with it on social media.”

Don’t Cry Wolf

The campaign received numerous accolades:

The Drum Awards for Social Purpose

🏆Winner
Campaign of the Year
(for profit)

🏆Winner
Best PR Campaign

🏆Winner
Chair Award

Nominated

Best in Representation of Diversity & Inclusivity in a Campaign

Brand Film Awards

🏅Finalist
Consumer Goods

PRCA National Awards

🏅Finalist
Purpose Award