Are You Last Year’s Model?
Very few companies, brands, products truly stand the test of time. Those who do ensure that a brand evolution (or even revolution) is in progress to stay with the times. Take Cover Girl, for example.
Cover Girl started in 1960 as an American cosmetics company. Their name hinted at how their advertising was done: they allowed the cover models of women’s magazines to wear their make-up. (So if you were wearing the same make-up as the Cover Girls, you could feel like a fashion model, too.)
One of the best-known early faces of the brand was Cybill Shepherd. In contrast to the dramatic make-up older generations, Cybil’s fresh-faced beauty appealed to the younger consumer in the 60s & 70s.
Fast forward to Christie Brinkley, whose 20-year contract with Cover Girl (1976-1996) was the longest model contract in history…and who came back to represent the brand in 2005 at the age of 51! Over those years, her gorgeous face was the constant as the looks changed.
Now there’s another blue-eyed blonde acting as Cover Girl’s spokesmodel – only she’s not a fashion model. She’s not a traditionally beautiful celebrity. She’s a brilliant, accomplished comedienne whose inner beauty can be related to by women of all ages and looks. Ellen Degeneres. Ellen. When I first saw her face on Cover Girl’s ads, I thought, “Ellen?” A heartbeat later I thought, “Ellen!” Make-up marketing genius.
Why? Because rather than evolving with the times, as Cover Girl has successfully done for over 60 years, this time they really shook things up – they went for a revolutionary change. One that took into account how radically different things are in the world today vs. 10 years ago. Today we are a nation of truth-seeking social media users. Ellen represents the face of truth. No longer can companies hide behind marketing as make-up to beautify their brands.
With branding as with beauty, it’s what’s on the inside that counts the most. Take a nice introspective moment to consider whether or not your company’s DNA is as relevant as it should be (or as it could be) to today’s and tomorrow’s audiences. If it is (or once it is), freshen up your face – or put on a whole new one, depending on your needs. But whatever you do, don’t be last year’s model unless you look like Christie Brinkley. That woman just defies all the laws, including time!