Sunday, August 3, 2008
Does She....Or Doesn't She???
Does she...Or doesn't she? Only her hairdresser knows for sure. This Advertising Hall of Fame slogan, was introduced by Miss Clairol in 1956. In 2008, it take on a whole new meaning...
Considered one of the Top 10 Slogans of the Century, Does she...or doesn't she? was the brain child of Shirley Polykoff. Universally sited as a legend in the industry, at the time she was the lone, female, Jr. copywriter at Foote Cone and Belding, (for you Mad Men aficionados, like me, think "Peggy"). Because of the vague sexual undercurrent of the question, does she or doesn't she, what??? Miss Clairol, selectively chose "girl next door" types for the ads and always featured a child in the background. In the 6 years after its debut, sales at Clairol increased 413% and the estimated number of American women coloring their hair, went from 7% to 50%. Quite an accomplishment and a testament to the power of advertising.
There is a legend behind this legend; When Shirley, (herself a bottle blond and a flamboyant dresser) was introduced to her future Mother-in-law at a Passover dinner, she was apparently, off put. In the 1930's, "nice girls" did not "paint" their hair. She queried her son George about it, and George reported it to Shirley, (including asking her if it was "true")? Shirley imagined her rebuking George in Yiddish, "fahrbt zider huer...oder fahrbt zi nisht??? Does she...or doesn't she? The rest is history...
Which brings me to Betty...Do you know her??? Betty, is a new kind of hair dye, specifically, pubic hair dye. Color, for "hair down there". Betty is currently available in 5 shades: blond, brunette, auburn, black and hot pink. Holiday additions, Valentines and St. Patricks Day Betty's are in the works. I guess I will have to bide my time until they introduce lavender...a color I consider universally flattering.
Of course, there is a story behind Betty, (now available at a drugstore near you). "Betty" is the brainchild of Nancy Jarecki, the socialite wife of Moviefone founder, Andrew Jarecki. After selling out to Time Warner, the Jarecki's moved to Rome. Nancy observed seeing the elegantly coiffed women, leaving her salon with discreet, doggy bags. What exactly was in those tiny totes??? It turns out, their colorists were sending them home, with mini coloring kits, so they could fashion matching collars and cuffs, at home. Oh. Ohhh!!! Is necessity the mamacita of invention? Apparently. Nancy went on to do market research, surveyed gynecologists and held numerous focus groups, before giving birth to Betty, (I guess it doesn't hurt to have a billionaire husband for a little direction and support). Clearly, they must have women of a certain vintage in mind, since today's 20 somethings, think hair, down there, is definitely, not, a necessity.
Which brings us to the present. At this moment, fleets of N.Y. city buses and subways, are plastered with Betty billboards, declaring, "Betty"- "Boldly Going Where No Color Has Gone Before". And I ask you, where is the dignity???!!! As I said in the beginning, Betty, gives a whole new meaning, to that quaint little dittie, Does she...Or doesn't she?
I will be in the city tomorrow. Should I find myself on the Madison Avenue bus, uptown, my handbag will be primly perched on my lap, just in case, "inquiring minds want to know"...