Helena Rubinstein came to the United States as a penniless Polish immigrant who went on to build one of the largest cosmetics empires in history.
And direct response advertising played a key role in pushing her products at retail stores from coast to coast.
This ad was created by Ogilvy and Mather in 1952 and is part of an incredible series of 20 or so “page-one advertorials.”
Unlike ordinary advertorials, which are ads formatted to look like editorials or news, these ads are laid out like page one of a major newspaper.
And just as the lead page of your favorite newspaper has a dozen different ways to hook you, this ad has multiple avenues for grabbing any prospect’s attention.
Yes, this ad is from fifty years ago, but just imagine how a health and beauty advertiser could use this approach today.
In a single print ad insertion, you can promote products for hair, skin, nails, weight loss and even fashion. It’s as wide as the advertiser’s imagination and product lines.
Important caveat: this is for retail advertisers whose brands and products are already known. This is not nearly as effective for a pure DR offer — note the absence of an order coupon.
You can download the ambient listen online and easily spend a half-hour studying all the copy and design elements.
Back to Helena Rubinstein.
She was not an easy client to work for.
One day, she phoned David Ogilvy and complained that his ad agency was ignoring her account.
Ogilvy responded by taking the 30 employees devoted to her account and marching uptown to her Park Avenue apartment. When they went upstairs, Ogilvy ushered them into her bedroom to confront the prone Rubinstein: “these are the people devoted full time to your account, don’t doubt us again.” It took someone with the gusto of an Ogilvy to get her to acquiesce.
Rubinstein was a powerful personality and if I had her for a client, I’d lead with this: “Wrinkles FEAR Her!”
Most beauty and rejuvenation advertising today is so regurgitated and boring that when I found this front page advertorial, it was like discovering a completely new approach.
Ogilvy’s work still has power all these years later.