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For the past three years, Rivers Agency has been the agency of record for Fantastic Sams, one of the world’s largest full-service hair salon chains, which has nearly 1,000 locations throughout North America. Plans were well underway for the 2020 campaign when the COVID crisis brought Fantastic Sams salons – as well as nearly all of us in the service industry – to a screeching halt.

“The pandemic had a huge impact on our client’s and was particularly disruptive for Fantastic Sams, which had to temporarily close many of its national franchisee owned salons,” said agency founder and CEO Lauren Rivers. “Even though there was a lot of uncertainty about what salon operations would look like in the future and when they’d be able to open their doors again, our team immediately got to work adjusting our messaging strategy and creating a post-COVID re-opening ad campaign.”

The Rivers team performed a detailed marketing analysis within the highly competitive full-service hair salon category, gauging how other brands were addressing the coronavirus. It was apparent that customers wanted detailed information about safety protocols and stylists wondered if they’d be safe at work too. Rivers knew they needed to express Fantastic Sams’ dedication to caring throughout this crisis through all marketing tactics. The Rivers team created the campaign theme “Affordable by Design, Caring by Nature.” and developed new materials that featured Fantastic Sams’ signature red color palette, brand-consistent photography and refreshed graphics with the reassuring message.

Postcard with new COVID crisis messaging

The updated messaging outlines the many steps Fantastic Sams is taking to ensure the safety of customers and staff during the COVID crisis. Most importantly, the campaign was backed up by the Fantastic Sams leadership team, which established rigorous protocols for stylists, customers and the ongoing sanitation of salons that went above and beyond CDC guidelines to ensure their salons could operate safely.

The Fantastic Sams ad web portal, designed and built by Rivers Agency pre-COVID, is an online toolkit used by all Fantastic Sams franchisees to download and personalize promotional advertising materials on-demand. The portal enabled the quick distribution of the new COVID-19 response “Affordable by Design, Caring by Nature.” reopening campaign materials.

Editable email for franchisees to use

Individual franchisees can easily search and download these assets, as well as any of the other existing marketing materials they need to promote their salon so they can quickly resume making America look great and feel fantastic about their style again. “Since many of the Fantastic Sams salons are now re-opening we might start seeing more selfies on social media,” said Rivers. “We are honored to be in the unique position to help Fantastic Sams salon owners work through this crisis.”

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