The bond-building hair care brand secretly launched fictitious product Oladupé onto the platform last week as a copycat product for its popular Hair Perfector No. 3.
The product, which was actually a bottle of the brand’s pre-shampoo treatment in disguise, was created to raise awareness of misinformation on social media.
It was also to highlight how the treatment is actually “undupable”.
Oladupé, which has the tagline ‘The Only Genuine Olaplex Dupe’, was packaged similarly to Olaplex’s popular Hair Perfector, but with No. 160 printed on the label instead of No. 3.
The number 160 is a reference to the amount of patent holdings Olaplex has for the treatment.
The joke, and the brand’s messaging around dupe culture, was revealed to consumers when they headed to oldapude.com to register for a free bottle.
The campaign has been a hit – #Oladupe has more than 5.5 million views on TikTok already.
Olaplex is one of the most duped hair care brands on TikTok, with 30.4 million views on videos that talk about Olaplex copycat products using #olaplexdupe.
"Olaplex is the real deal, a brand that is truly ‘undupable’,” said Olaplex CEO Jue Wong.
“And the foundation of this is our underlying technology, which is peerless in the industry.
“This campaign tapped into the cultural zeitgeist.
“Meeting consumers where they are and playfully educating them on the one-of-a-kind and proven repair and strengthening benefits of our bond-building technology.
“Which cannot be copied or duped."
An unboxing campaign was launched alongside the campaign featuring more than 100 influencers, including Lelani Green, Yesly Dimate, Shae Alexis and Audrey Boo.
These creators later shared that they were in on the joke, helping to reveal that Oladupé was actually Olaplex’s Hair Perfector No. 3 all along.
Olaplex worked with creative agency Movers+Shakers on the campaign.
"We are thrilled to partner with Olaplex on this industry-first campaign that authentically puts Olaplex directly into the middle of the social media conversation around their undupable product," said Geoffrey Goldberg, CCO and co-founder of Movers+Shakers.
"Oladupé was created to prove that there is no real 'dupe' for the real thing."
It has been a difficult year for Olaplex, with its sales crashing by nearly half in the second quarter of 2023.
The brand has now lowered its forecast for the financial year due to this weaker than expected performance.
The company has also been grappling with a lawsuit filed against it in February 2023.
The litigation alleges that its No. 0 to No. 9 products cause hair loss and scalp blisters.
However, on 11 July, the court granted Olaplex’s motion to sever and dismissed all but the first named plaintiff.
The court also dismissed the operative complaint with leave to re-file on the grounds that it contained allegations that were not relevant to the claims of the one, remaining plaintiff.
On 24 July, the remaining plaintiff filed a notice voluntarily dismissing her claims without prejudice.
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