Head & Shoulders

Ando, The Spy

How We Broke Every Category Convention To Get Japanese Men Talking About Dandruff

The hair care category is awash with clichés. One thing it didn’t have: good stories. Until Ando came along. Part aspirational spy, part relatable guy, Ando has the looks and the moves. But he also has dandruff, just like our audience.

And in this ongoing series of films, he’s captivated audiences by showing his dealings with the issue: from living with dandruff to finding the solution in H&S and on to helping men everywhere get rid of theirs.

In Japan, cleanliness (seiketsukan) is a fundamental element of everyday interactions. This means that something as small as dandruff is treated as a big taboo. So even though dandruff is relatively common, with 41% of Japanese men having experienced it, very few men dare to speak of their scalp issues openly and most lack information on how to get rid of them.

Breaking such an ingrained stigma, while igniting conversation and interest for the theme and for Head & Shoulders, would require a truly unexpected approach.

Firstly, we knew we had to tell relatable stories of how dandruff gets in the way of everyday life, no matter who you are. And what better way to do that than to give someone as suave as a spy something as troublesome as dandruff?

Secondly, we needed to make sure we told stories in a way that would be well-received by the audience. So we tapped into Japan’s love for anime to create eye-catching and entertaining animation that could help relieve people’s fear of judgment over dandruff in a new way; with a lighthearted tone that destigmatizes the topic while offering a simple solution.

In the first film, The Chase, Ando is pursued around the world by his nemesis, Detective Takashi. No matter which trick he pulls off to escape, he is always found. Eventually cornered, Ando discovers the reason why: he’s been leaving a trail of dandruff everywhere he goes.

In the sequel, Winter Rescue, we journey back to Ando’s past to meet his mentor, Jiro. The duo infiltrates an enemy stronghold to retrieve an important briefcase. On their way out, Jiro’s dandruff ignites the alarm in a room of lasers, setting off a chain of disastrous consequences.

The films were made in the unique 2.5D animation style. In 2.5D, the backgrounds are created and rendered in 3D – giving each scenario a grandeur and stunning look that you don’t see in regular animation. Over these meticulously crafted locations, characters that were designed down to the smallest detail in 2D are positioned to create an intriguing contrast between background and foreground.

A groundbreaking series that keeps shattering category benchmarks

The campaign has been a major success for Head & Shoulders in Japan, with the films having garnered a whopping 205 million views across social and TV. Ando and his stories resonated with audiences, igniting conversations around dandruff (7,000% spike) and brand mentions on social media (increase of 160%) like never before.

Campaign insight

In this ongoing and ever-growing entertainment platform, Ando and his missions keep proving how humor and great stories can truly be the best medicine for every ailment in life, including dandruff.



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AWARD Awards

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