Nice 'N Easy & Koleston
How we freshened up two brands in a faded category

Nice ‘N Easy and Koleston – two P&G hair colour brands – were looking tired in the context of the already dated hair-colour category. To set the scene, imagine a typical piece of category communication: staged poses, studio shots, wig-like hair. Our clients at P&G were ready to move beyond this jaded look; our brief was to provide the semiotic and creative guidance they needed.

Our response shows how useful it can be to join up semiotic and creative thinking. For both brands, we began with our semiotician hats on, considering the bigger conceptual issues at stake. These insights then served to steer creative, practical thinking, ensuring our recommendations were properly grounded.

This input proved so useful that we ended up closely involved with these brands over two years. In fact, we still work on related initiatives as an expert on our clients’ beauty panel. We’ve set a course for these brands that has proved powerfully effective, and our clients want to make sure that continues.

Nice ‘N Easy

Nice ‘N Easy had become outdated and irrelevant in the colour category in the US. Packs and communications hadn’t kept up with wider cultural change, and it was time for change.

We set to work by analysing the core brand idea of ‘authentic and simple’, looking at its emergent expressions across category and culture. The next step was to develop a relevant new space for the brand, moving it forwards without diluting its heritage.  We called it ‘Honesty’ – and it became the basis for a set of simple creative recommendations, including greater use of natural light, models making eye contact, and more freedom of movement for hair.

The pack concepts developed from this idea, and guided by our involvement in the beauty panel, achieved one of P&G’s top-scoring hair colour concepts ever.


Turkey and Brazil: it’s hard to imagine two more contrasting perspectives on sensuality. Our challenge was to help Koleston modernise its expression of this idea across both markets.

Our semiotic analysis revealed that sensuality was becoming more graceful, expressive and natural – less about reclining in a boudoir waiting passively for a man to turn up. From here we developed two opportunity spaces to help steer a new direction for packaging and communications.

‘Flair and artistry’ was all about orchestrating light and colour to create sensual, premium hair imagery. Here we recommended cinematic, not studio, shots, giving a sense of narrative, time and place.

Our second space, ‘Unashamed exotic,’ injected some fantasy elements into the colour story. We advised layering transparency and depth to create mystique, and building a vivid colour palette to express contemporary folklore.

On the hair colour businesses we have found Space Doctor's contributions to be invaluable as we move to infuse greater creativity into our early ideas. We have been on a journey to drive executional excellence and craftsmanship into all our work. This has led us to get more executional earlier in the process. Having Space Doctors work with us at our sessions has enabled us to apply the semiotic learnings that we have invested in directly into our ideas, both in visuals and language. It has also helped us take some risks that we might not have taken, which have leaped the brand forward to a more modern space with more interesting story telling. We feel that our work is richer with Space Doctors contributing to it.