Championing diversity and inclusion

What we set out to do

Tangle Teezer PR is on a mission to engage the natural hair community and become a brand known for taking a stand on issues that matter to Black people in the US and UK. So we had three clear objectives for this campaign:


  • Create a genuine, emotional connection with a key target audience for Tangle Teezer – the natural hair community – through a brand campaign that goes beyond the product range
  • Position Tangle Teezer as a brand that’s putting its money where its mouth is when it comes to diversity and supporting Black businesses and creators
  • Raise awareness of and donations to Pretty Brown Girl, Tangle Teezer’s charity partner, to their work promoting self-confidence and leadership development for girls of colour

Here is how HairyTales was born.

Our approach

Only 12% of children’s books in the US feature Black characters and that figure is significantly lower in the UK, where just 2% of children’s books feature Black characters. Why are we talking about books when Tangle Teezer is all about hair? Because research we conducted for this campaign revealed more than half of Black parents in the US and UK (51% in the US, 59% in the UK) said Black characters in books usually play on stereotypes and Black culture is normally negatively depicted.


When children see someone who looks like them and has hair like them, represented in a positive light and playing the hero, it creates the possibility for them to step into their full potential. Working with Black creators and publishers, we set out to help tackle underrepresentation in children’s books, by putting Black protagonists and afro-textured hair centre stage.

What we did

We partnered with ex-Playdays presenter and award-winning author, Trish Cooke, illustrator, Angela Corbin, and publisher, Woke Babies, to create three ‘HairyTales’ – a series of children’s books inspired by the classic fairy tales: Rapunzel, Pinocchio and Jack and the Beanstalk. Each HairyTale had one thing in common – they put afro-textured hair and heroes centre stage.

To support the release of the books and create a core asset for paid, earned and owned channels, Don’t Cry Wolf created a short animation. ‘Zel, Let Out Your Hair’ is inspired by Rapunzel. The main character, Zel, shows that Black hair in all its shapes and forms, from afro to braided crown, is a superpower. The animation was narrated by Lexi Underwood, star of Little Fires Everywhere, who also acted as the brand’s spokesperson for press.


HairyTales launched on 18th February, during US Black History Month. The theme this year was: ‘The Family: Representation, Identity and Diversity’ – the perfect news hook for our story. Meanwhile in the UK, World Book Day on 4th March gave us an additional hook for press and social media.

We recruited 24 US and UK-based Black and mixed race influencers to support the launch, including Leigh-Anne Pinnock from Little Mix, Jessica Plummer, Perri-Shakes Drayton and The Kabs Family. Our brave, bold influencers shared their personal experiences of hair discrimination and underrepresentation, and stressed how important it is that brands like Tangle Teezer step up and tackle important issues.

All US profits from the books went straight to Tangle Teezer’s charity partner – Pretty Brown Girl. And in the UK, Woke Babies and Tangle Teezer sent copies of the books to 61 schools in London to help boost the racial diversity of the books available to primary school children.

What happened?

The results go beyond column inches

We secured over 300 pieces of press and influencer coverage for the campaign, including three minute long segments on ABC’s Good Morning America piece and BBC News. Traffic driven to Woke Babies’ website as a result of the Good Morning America segment crashed the site for several minutes, as more than 60,000 people visited the site to find out more and get their hands on the books. Woke Babies secured a distribution deal with Nordstrom – one of the US’s top department stores – off the back of the campaign. Tangle Teezer not only helped raise awareness for a UK-based, Black-owned publisher, it helped grow the business internationally.

60 of the articles secured included backlinks to Tangle Teezer and the animation, which helped drive a 17% uplift in traffic to Tangle Teezer’s website. The coverage reached 255 million people thanks to quality hits in the lilies of Metro and Grazia.

Our influencer collaborations achieved over one million impressions.

The animated version of Zel has been watched over 250,000 times on YouTube. Only $1,500 was spent on promoting the film, the vast majority of views were organic. The cost per view was $0.01 making the animation 10x better on ROI than other Tangle Teezer YouTube content. Over half a million people in our target audience took action by buying books, watching the film or engaging directly with it on social media.

Brand activism in action.

A total of $20,000 was donated to Pretty Brown Girl thanks to proceeds from the books, which were matched by Tangle Teezer. In the UK the books were so popular that they have now been made available in Waterstones so that more people can enjoy them. All future proceeds will go to the author, Trish.

As a direct result of planning and launching this campaign, Tangle Teezer:


  • Signed up to the Halo Code: pledging its commitment to tackling hair discrimination in the workplace  
  • Published its first corporate diversity pledge – in which it acknowledged its role in an industry that has reinforced negative stereotypes and called for real and lasting change
  • Made a commitment to ensure that 60% of all influencer partnerships are with people of colour 
  • Carried out an extensive employee diversity survey which will be used as the basis for future recruitment and workplace policies