What makes these products stand the test of time?
And we just can’t resist a story, says van Laer.
For example, he says, in the Netherlands, where he grew up, the most famous line of creams, shampoos and soaps still comes from a brand called Zwitsal, which claims to make “the oldest beauty product in the world.” . It was started in 1900 with a story: a pharmacy student took a walking trip to Switzerland, and discovered a magic elixir which he took home and turned into a pH neutral soap.
“At the start of the 20th century, it was unheard of. And it was tagged as: “It’s better for kids”. It draws on, he says, one of the most powerful stories of the moment: the “hero’s journey”. In doing so, he transforms the consumer – the individual who buys soap for his children, at the supermarket – into a hero.
“[Most] of these beauty brands use it in one way or another. “
For beauty podcaster Gemma Watts, it’s the story of how businesswoman Estee Lauder successfully sold her iconic scent, Youth Dew – still in production since 1953 – to department stores across the United States, which forced her to have it.
“She couldn’t get the department stores to start stocking it, so she went to [one] and i just threw a bottle [of it] on the ground, then all these people were suddenly like, “What’s that amazing smell?” says Watts, host of The Glow Journal. “And they took her upstairs, and was like, ‘OK, we’re going to store it, we’ve got so many people asking for it.’
“Before hearing this, I saw the brand as a heritage brand, which we sometimes associate with being award-winning and appropriate. [But] Hearing this, I said to myself: “She was the rebel of the original beauty”. I wanted to buy it before I smelled it, because of this story.
Dr Toni Eagar, a lecturer on consumer behavior at Australian National University, sees this phenomenon playing out with other iconic products.
“You have people like Marilyn Monroe and other celebrities who say, ‘I wear Coco Chanel'” – Monroe said the only thing she wore to bed was Chanel No 5 – “but then you will have people ordinary people who make this perfume their signature scent. They will personally tie this brand to their personal identity. It’s the same way Steve Jobs always wore black shirts. We use clothes, perfumes like masks, costumes, accessories in our daily lives in order to project a sense of who we are to others and to ourselves.
Other iconic products, says Watts – like Nars Orgasm Blush, La Mer Moisturizer, Maybelline Great Lash Mascara, and Yves Saint Laurent Touche Eclat Highlighter – have achieved their status because they “revolutionized” a product. beauty category. The sparkling pinky-beach blush, launched in 1999, made cheek color sexy again after long being a ‘clown’ product, Watts says, while the highlight pen, launched in 1992, introduced the use of pigments reflecting light around the eye. instead of a flat color.
Having them, whether she uses them or not, gives her joy.
“It’s kind of like having a little piece of beauty history,” Watts says.
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