This week, Tyler took to the boardroom to share with us what he felt was “Meaningful Marketing”. The lights were dimmed, the projector was on – and lo and behold, a Clairol ad from yesteryear streamed across the walls. Some of the script is a little dated, for example “She looks faded, unattractive.” But in 1957, this ad made big impacts on women all across North America.
(Let’s all take a moment to celebrate that most ads don’t opt to outright call anyone faded and unattractive nowadays)
You see, in 1957 it was largely frowned upon when a woman would openly colour her hair. Hair dye was reserved for “tarts”, if we’re going to keep in the decade’s common vernacular. And if a woman did dye her hair, she likely worked in the theatre or possibly the streets. But Clairol’s ad changed that. It took colouring your hair out from beneath its shame blanket.
Shirley Polykoff, Clairol’s copywriter at the time knew it was all a matter of convincing women at home that the product would look so natural, nobody would ever guess you’d given your hair a colour bath. ‘Does she or doesn’t she,’ wound up being one of the most successful slogans in brand history. Power to Polykoff, a whippersnapper of a copywriter!
By 1962, when Clairol ads began appearing in LIFE magazine, Clairol generated $200 million in sales up from $25 million when Polykoff first took over the account! While boasting big numbers is certainly something we like to tip our hat to, what makes this meaningful is that it empowered women. It empowered them to dye their hair, and for decades since – it’s been a major part of the beauty business.
So next time you’re dying your hair think of Clairol, think of Polykoff and all the women who came before you who were too ashamed to admit they dyed their locks. An advertisement can be powerful enough to create change in our culture – and what a beautiful thing that is.
If you want to learn more about specific key elements of an effective marketing plan, read our 50+ page booklet on How to Write A Strategic Marketing Plan That Yields ROI – complete with explanations