La Shampoo Case

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La Shampoo

It was almost 11 P.M. when Caroline Portal left the office. She was exhausted. The day had been filled with one meeting after another, and she wanted nothing more than to crawl into bed and get some sleep. But she couldn't head home before stopping by the local 24-hour supermarket. The store was enormous -18 aisles of food, pharmaceuticals, stationery, and books, even small appliances. Squinting in the bright lights, Caroline made her way to the health-andbeauty aisle and stood, staring, at the display of La Shampoo on the top shelf. Nearby, grouped with other conditioners, was the La Shampoo conditioner. Introduced in 1975 and targeted at women between the ages of 15 and 30, La Shampoo had a stylish image that had immediately become popular. The line had quickly advanced from a strong West Coast regional presence to a solid 4% share of the national market -- a position it had held more or less steadily for 14 years. La Shampoo's basic products and packaging had been modified several times over the years, but its look had remained essentially unchanged. And its slogan, "La Shampoo: For the Look and Feel of France," had stayed the same since day one. In 1989, the line had begun a very slow descent, but the company hadn't really addressed the problem until two years ago, when it named Caroline brand manager. At first, Caroline called for a new packaging design. She knew that La Shampoo was in trouble, but maybe a quick pick-me-up would do the trick. The ad agency backed her up and developed a modest "new look" campaign. This repackaging had caused a lot of tension at the office. Most of the people who worked on La Shampoo had been with the company for years and couldn't imagine anything other than a slight variation on the tall, slim, blue plastic bottles with the beige labels and cursive lettering. And, in fact, the repackaging -- a wider bottle and yellow label with sharper lettering -- had had no positive effect on sales since its introduction...
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