Ad of the Week: Mandevu Flips Haircare Paradigm

Ad of the Week: Mandevu Flips Haircare Paradigm

by Oresti Patricios (@orestaki) for

Creative Y&R Nairobi and Y&R Cape Town have created an arresting campaign for a specialist grooming product in a market that’s growing faster than human facial hair.
Mandevu Beard Care campaign by Y&R

Click to enlarge

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” That timeless piece of wisdom comes from the novelist, essayist and all round genius, Marcel Proust, and has never been more relevant. We live in a world where there is so much information available all of the time that it is easy to become jaded. Even more so in the creative industries, where arresting information becomes incredibly difficult. How do advertisers get audiences to see the world anew, or to even get people to take notice of branded messages?


Creative Y&R Nairobi and Y&R Cape Town have come up with a remarkable campaign for Kenyan brand, Mandevu Beard Care, that is arresting and disruptive. A print campaign, the bold, striking and inverted visuals used for this grooming product really make you look at things differently.

The brand promise behind Mandevu Beard Care is that “every man should be able to find and use only the highest quality products for his beard. Each product we produce is distinctively made with the man in mind.” This grooming product only uses “100% natural ingredients that are essential for maintaining a healthy, soft, conditioned and hydrated beard”.

Four iterations

The campaign comprises four iterations, each showing one arresting picture in a full page ad or poster format. What is most-eye-catching about the pictures is the way in which they have been treated: using graphics manipulation software (something like the ubiquitous Adobe Photoshop) the faces have been inverted, so that the beard appears where the hair should be and the hair becomes the beard.

It’s a disconcerting effect, because the human brain is so used to seeing other humans’ faces in one certain way. But, at the same time, it puts the beard at a position of prominence, giving emphasis to the product, which is summed up in the subtly placed slogan: “Haircare. For beards”.

The haircare market is massive — the lotions, potions, waxes, mousses, conditioners, oils and more that we use to improve our hair are a major, burgeoning market. But beard care has only properly come into its own recently.

Men’s market

In his research for Datamonitor Consumer two years ago, Andrew Streeter asked the question: “Is Africa the next market for male grooming?” The international data and analysis firm reckons that this continent is the next “hot market for men’s grooming products“. Globally, increasing numbers of men are growing beards and taking greater care of their facial her. Datamonitor’s research shows that half of the male population believe that grooming products improve their appearance. The research company reckons Africa’s beauty market will reach a value of some US$13.2bn this year. So what kind of person is buying the likes of Mandevu Beard Care products? In his research for Datamonitor, Jamie Mills identifies this group as “lumbersexual” — think of a fusion of masculine lumberjacks and metrosexuals. You know the type. Lumbersexuals are rugged, but well-groomed, intellectual, enjoy artisanal coffee and craft beer. They’re the cool cats who use combs made out of pure sandalwood as part of their beard-grooming routine, which also includes beard oil , as well as beard balm (like, hey, what’s a beard without a little scented nourishment?).

Oh, Y&R, you smart, smart people. You know exactly what appeals to metrosexuals, don’t you? Well done for a campaign that people have been talk about and taking notice of, and that embraces everything that great advertising is all about.


Advertising agencies: Creative Y&R Nairobi and Y&R Cape Town
Chief creative officer: Graham Lang
Creative directors: Farhan Mirza, Ben Hunt
Copywriter: Paul Chika
Art director: Michael Wanjohi
Photographer: Kabutha Kago
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