By B.L. Ochman
Presidential Hair Color Poll 1996
In 1996, a political pundit at a mid-Western newspaper noted that both Presidential candidates – William Jefferson Clinton [D] and Bob Dole [R] – were turning up on campaign stops with varying hair color.
To me, that seemed like a perfect opportunity to demonstrate the marketing potential of the World Wide Web. After all, everyone was closely watching the election, and brave brands were starting to experiment with rather crude sites. I thought there was much more that could be done online than just posting what essentially were online versions of company brochures.
Tools for online polls, not to mention animation, were crude in 1996, but they could be jerry-rigged. I created a poll for Just for Men Hair Color – my first online client – in which people could see, via an animation, how both Clinton and Dole would look with brown, black, red, blond and gray hair. And they could vote for the hair color they liked best on each candidate. It was an early experiment in social media marketing, and it was exciting to watch it catch on.
The interactive campaign was online for a mere two weeks, with its presence spread by word of mouth.
More than 2,000 people voted – unheard of numbers in those early Internet days – and 76% preferred each candidate with a different hair color than they had at the time. Coverage included The Wall St Journal, ABC, CBS and NBC News – a great boost for men’s hair color.
That was it! I was hooked, and I still am!
I used the Internet Archive, the wayback machine to find this image from thebestwebideas.com, my first website. The archive lets you see the web all the way back to the beginning. It even has a blog with details about the project.