Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Sai Baba: New Face of L'Oreal

Jan 18, Manhattan.

L'Oreal has signed Sathya Sai Baba, a revered holy man from India, to an exclusive worldwide contract as spokesperson for the company and its brands. The deal also makes the Baba the newest face to front next month's launch of a new hair-styling product aptly titled L'Oreal Aura.

A television commercial via McCann Ericksonn, New York, features the Baba, whose hair color was done with Natural Match in Shade 5W.

Lynndie McCall, Marketing Director for L'Oreal told us, "We chose Swami Baba because even though he can be a macho man when he wants to be, he has the right balance of femininity to add into the mix of the seventies androgyne we were looking for. Have you seen his hair? Its so fluffy!" It is unknown if Sai Baba will be released from his wheelchair to appear in the commercial, as McCall held her index finger to her lips to indicate secrecy.

Keeley Joseph, scientific director behind the new brand, added: "The special quality of this new product is that the active ingredient is from Sai Baba's homeland of India. Each bottle of L'Oreal Aura contains 1.9% vibhuti, the ash that he produces. We believe that the use of vibhuti in our color treatments gives hair a slick sheen and a joyful bounce, and we may even be adding this ingredient to our shampoos later this year."

Prodded a little further, Keeley blushed and revealed that Sai Baba had promised her a few extra tablets of the vibhuti if she promised to be a good girl.

L'Oreal Aura, which will be sold at chain drug, food and mass-market retailers, introduces a "before" swatch on the front and a mirror on the box to guide consumers to the shade that best complements hair and skin tone.

Sai Baba is reportedly "very very happy" with the contract, which promises to bring in a lucrative $3-4 million annually. Responding to our journalist's question about brand endorsement and why he had made this career move, the Baba sarcastically retorted, "Because I'm worth it".

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