The company that now sells V05 says on their website that Alberto (no last name) was a
“Hairdresser to the stars!“
But that might just be company folklore/PR. Alberto WAS a chemist that worked for a Los Angeles beauty supply house founded by Blaine Culver in the 50s, that was oddly in Culver City, so that circle is hard to square too. The story goes that it was originally made as a conditioning hairdressing for Hollywood leading ladies to counter the harsh conditions of movie sound stages. But there’s no evidence I could find that Alberto was a chemist AND a hairdresser. But it’s marketing genius that has made billions over the last 60 years.
Hey, remember actress Rula Lenska? Who’s that? In America she was only know for her V05 commercials who presented her as a big star of the Brit stage and screen. At the time, her career in London had just begun to take off. (She’s still with us and working on the British stage, btw.)
The name VO5 comes from the 5 Vitamin Oils that are used and in the 50s it became the number one haircare brand and it is still popular today.
The company was renamed Alberto-Culver and was purchased in 1955 by Leonard H. Lavin (not to be confused with Lanvin or Leonard Lauder, Estee’s son) who then moved it to Chicago. Hundred other products were eventually dropped and the company focused solely on their big seller, Alberto VO5 shampoo and hairdressing.
Until his death last year, Lavin remained a director of the company whose ’07 sales were $1.5 billion.
Remember these ads in magazines and on TV? Don’t you feel like getting a hot oil treatment now?