By Barry Janoff
October 18, 2012: Troy Polamalu has been schooling opposing players as an All-Pro safety with the Pittsburgh Steelers since 2003.
Three years ago, he turned one of his non-football attributes — his full head of hair — into a marketing deal with Head & Shoulders. Now, he has graduated to the unofficial title of professor and has been joined by teammate Brett Keisel, who is known for his all-pro play at defensive tackle as well as for his full beard, to help educate men on how to maintain healthy hair.
This week, Head & Shoulders launched the Troy Polamalu School of Deeper Learning, described as a virtual school featuring a series of "humorous online courses to help men everywhere achieve deeper thinking through healthy scalps and great looking hair."
The campaign supports Head & Shoulders for Men Deep Clean, a new product from the Proctor & Gamble hair-care brand, which comes with its own humorous tag line: "Money can't buy you happiness. But it can buy you deepness."
The effort is anchored by a dedicated Web site with it's own snarky mantra, "Deep Like Troy," where "students" (aka visitors to the site) can learn tongue-in-cheek lessons from the in-house staff: Polamalu, who is listed as founder and University president; Keisel, who is the Dean of Students and Professor of Facial Hair; and comic Rob Riggle, the university's tenured department head of comedic skills.
New students are first given a "welcome orientation," where Riggle greets visitors, reads from the Book of Polamalu and leads a tour of the virtual campus. "Plato, Socrates and Polamalu," says Riggle, "When it comes to deep thinkers, think of us." We meet Foley the Follicle, who is the school mascot, and other characters who make the university, as Riggle explains, "The No. 1 parting school in the nation."
Among the courses being offered:
• Advanced Music Appreciation: "Professors Troy Polamalu and Brett Keisel demonstrate the art of Spanish Air Guitar, delving into the deepness of facial expressions and the emotionality of proper guitar fingering."
• Spiritual Shampooing 101: "Professor Master Troy Polamalu leads students on a journey into the world of Tai Chi, revealing countless mysteries of shampooing spirituality."
• Poetry and Social Revolution 101: "Rob Riggle interprets his acclaimed "Rhyme & Riggle' composition book for students: 'You want to change society, you’ve got to get poetic. Deeply poetic.' ”
• Art Appreciation 201: "To be a true artist, you need a deep appreciation for the masters who came before. Using his flock of hair as a paint brush, Prof. Palomalu creates a masterpiece: The Paloma-Lisa."
• Deep Telepathy 202: "To connect with your fellow human beings, you must go deep into their souls. Topics discussed completely by thought and without speaking include flossing, boring boyfriends and the deep meaning of clean hair."
The site, being supported at such social media sites as Facebook and Twitter, also offers extracurricular actives including a chat room and an opportunity to read Prof. Palomalu's deepest thoughts.
P&G is in its fourth season as an official NFL partner, which also includes such brands as Tide, Duracell, Gillette, Old Spice and Febreze.