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L’Oréal-owned Baxter of California taps into L.A. heritage with new ad campaign

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An image from Baxter of California’s new “Life Lived True” digital ad campaign, which mines the grooming brand’s L.A. heritage -- and targets Millennial men. (Baxter of California / WWD)
(Baxter of California / WWD)

For the first time since its acquisition by L’Oréal in 2012, Baxter of California is making serious strides to grow its business.

The Los Angeles-based men’s brand has a new global president — Yann Joffredo — and a new campaign aimed at Millennial men. Industry sources estimate the brand does about $25 million in sales, but with increased efforts in digital and social media marketing, it could triple that number by 2020.

Baxter is a hair, skin and shave brand that was started out of a Los Angeles barber shop in 1965. For a new digital campaign that drops this week, Joffredo wanted to harken back to the brand’s California cool roots.

The new campaign, called Life Lived True, centers on a handful of Los Angeles-based men, each with a unique personal style, who the brand believes “live life true” — Baxter’s new tag line, which debuted this year.

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“The brand has been evolving since 1965, and the idea was to make it relevant to a new generation — [particularly] the Millennials,” Joffredo said. “The focus is to explore the modern expressions of masculinity through the perspective of young men living their life in L.A.…embrace your own perfection, strive to make your own unique mark in the world. The way we look at the concept of normal is so antiquated to us at Baxter of California.”

So how does one “live life true?”

“It’s a spirit and way of life…not being afraid of stereotypes or judgement,” Joffredo said. “This generation [Millennials] connects better with authentic stories of success and lifestyles that are aspirational and attainable. There’s a big shift — we’re seeing in the women’s industry and it’s spreading. Perfection is not the key to beauty anymore.”

The fact that Baxter is a California-based brand is also helpful in upping its aspirational factor for Millennials, Joffredo said. “It’s that California cool momentum — California is the new American dream in terms of [lifestyle and embracing individuality].”

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Aside from the Life Lived True campaign, Baxter — which industry sources estimate does about 80 percent of its business in the U.S. — is expanding further into international markets.

Baxter is in 17 countries in addition to the U.S, including France, the U.K., Japan and Australia, but is sold mainly in specialty retailers and concept shops. Joffredo said he plans to push Baxter further into Europe and Asia through partnerships with larger retailers.

As a streamlined brand that focuses on clean ingredients, Joffredo sees big growth potential for Baxter in the burgeoning men’s market.

“There’s a lot of traction in the men’s market — it’s very fast-growing,” Joffredo said. “With the curation of product [within Baxter] — there’s one moisturizer and it’s the best one — you don’t have to overthink it.”

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