For Your Information. The essential press release by l’Oréal Paris. www.lorealparis.com The worTh iT issue
td oes Société wha n ? it mea L’Oreal’s “because i’m worth it” 40 years Later by Pascal beucler, semiologist. women finding their voices At the beginning of the 1970s a 23-year-old copy writer at a New York advertizing agency, Ilon Specht, was assigned l’oreAl meAns The besT an exceptional mission : Create THE campaign to esta- blish Préférence by L’Oreal as the new benchmark hairco- science, in And of iTself. lor on the American market, which was then dominated by Clairol with its iconic tagline, “Does she or doesn’t she?” The brAnd’s scienTific AdvAnces (See Malcolm Gladwell’s well-known article, True Colors, in the March 22, 1999 issue of The New Yorker.) Are unique in The world. The brAnd’s ProducTs Are ince The ideA : breAk shArPly Purely And simPly beTTer.s wiTh The exisTing codes mission imPossible. A visionary break with the past The planned comparative ad based on scientific stu- dies showing the technological superiority of L’Oreal’s The line ThAT sAid iT All And sAid iT well! Préférence over Clairol’s Nice ‘n Easy was banned because the research in question had not been conducted in the / First, the deeper meaning. L’Oreal put forward a brand United States. Panic ensued. What were they going to do? new way of thinking: A woman doesn’t choose Préférence to conform to social conventions and accepted norms (see Clairol…), she chooses Préférence because L’Oreal1791 is truly different, in terms of both performance and tech- "Preference by loréAl is The nology. It’s no longer to please others or to be like eve- ryone else that I choose the product that’s best for hair. mosT exPensive, buT you cAn I’m doing it because it makes me happy and makes me feel good about myself. In the end, I owe it to myself to see iTs worTh iT. so Am i.". choose the product that is best in and of itself, even if it’s more expensive, because it’s the best for me. This dual message has been extremely valuable to the brand: The ideA : / L’OreaL means The besT science, in break sharply with the existing codes portraying women And of iTself. The brand’s scienTific as silent objects. At best, as subjects that could barely advances are unique in The wOrLd. think for themselves, subjugated by esthetic standards set The brand’s prOducTs are pureLy by men—husbands, lovers or even fathers—but always by and simpLy beTTer. men. Be pretty, be good and be quiet. It was the creative anger, the feminist spark of a rebel- / L’OreaL means The besT hAircAre lious 23-year-old young woman from California that for me, The prOducTs ThaT increase made possible this break with the past. Nearly 40 years my seLf-cOnfidence, and TherefOre later Ilon Specht’s line at the end of the famous ad is still make me happier. aLThOugh The “my” as fresh as ever: phraseOLOgy used sO OfTen TOday was nOT yeT currenT, One cOuLd have aLready spOken in Terms Of “my L’OreaL.” l’oreAl is Truly differenT, in Terms of boTh PerformAnce And Technology "iTs worTh iT. so Am i." Techne & Psyche. Identity & Ipseity. Things have come full circle. Lessons from the study of motivationism as it pertains to advertizing then in vogue in the US had been perfectly assimilated or, in any case, illustrated: It’s the consumer’s personal intimate relationship with a brand that counts and which forms the basis of any desire for its products (What has the brand done for me and what has the brand done with me, not only concerning my rela- tionships with others but, above all, concerning the way I feel about myself? As Baudrillard so aptly phrased it in his 1968 work, The System of Objets, we buy an object but we consume a symbol.
société / Second, the form it took. L’Oreal’s message shatte- red the codes of advertizing, and by extension cultural codes, in an America that held rather conservative views of a woman’s proper role in society. The silent, voiceless Clairol woman, with only a male voice-over (!) stood in noisy opposition to the L’Oreal woman with a voice of her own, therefore with her own power. There’s no man speaking and no man judging her (“Does she or doesn’t she?”) and she’s put herself front and center. A radical change in perspective that shook up the tendency to conform to social norms—as well as the male chauvi- l’oreAl’s messAge shATTered nism—that was prevalent at the time. As you know, the result was that L’Oreal made impressive gains in market The codes of AdverTizing, share.A rAdicAl chAnge in PersPecTiveThAT shook uP The Tendency The “i” wAs The “i” sPokenTo conform To sociAl norms by A womAn TAking full They took a risky bet and they won, spectacularly. So it’s easy to understand why L’Oreal Paris is now celebrating conTrol of her life this key moment in its history! For nearly 40 years, the brand promise has remained on a continuum, always about the added value the pro- changing values "from i to we" duct creates for people. If self-esteem is indeed that very personal, internal attitude that allows a woman to what we might call the grammar of value of L’Oreal’s say to herself that she has value, that she’s “worth it”, tagline has evolved over the years, from the “i” of the that she’s unique and that she’s important, especially in 70s to the “you” of the 90s to the “we” of the final years her own eyes, then L’Oreal is indisputably THE brand of of the last decade. self-esteem. The “i” was the “i” spoken by a woman taking full control With, as a bonus, the worldwide and unparalleled fame, of her life during the era of the women’s liberation appeal and durability of the words, “Because I’m worth it.”movement. The use of “you” signaled a change toward a context As Gladwell reminded us in his legendary article, where women were enjoined to act and to identify with L’Oreal’s Préférence became the brand that symbolized certain ideals, a context where the brand’s celebrity life changes, the brand for women determined to rein- spokeswomen began to play a dominant role. The origi- vent themselves and take control of their lives. One study nal, self-proclaimed “me” was replaced by a unifying “me, even showed that there were many more divorced women too”, with, no doubt, an element of greater conformity among L’Oreal users than among Clairol users: “They as well. "Because im changed their lives and their hair. But it wasn’t one thing or the other. It was both.” worth it !”"They chAnged Their lives AndTheir hAir. buT iT wAsnT one The more recent and more hesitant “we” would appear to aim at greater inclusiveness, a greater emphasis on com- munity, which clearly speaks to a deep-seated contempo- rary aspiration. This is evidenced by the womanofworth. com initiative where we see andie macdowell saying (“you,Thing or The oTher. iT wAs boTh ”. me, us, we’re so worth that !”) and beyoncé (“worth it, it’s about connecting with other people.”) asking women to help identify “a woman who makes a beautiful diffe- rence in (their) community.” all of these evolutions and changes, have, in a few decades,ThAT wAs PrevAlenT AT The Time. contributed to reshaping how the brand is perceived in terms of its relationship to women and self-esteem.As you know, The resulT wAsThAT l’oreAl mAde imPressive l’oreAl is indisPuTAblygAins in mArkeT shAre. The brAnd of self-esTeem. By the same token, it is worth taking another look atl’oreAl’s Préférence becAme the original and perhaps prematurely loosened bond between brand and consumer- "Its worth it > So am I."The brAnd for women To supplement the occasional studies that have beendeTermined To reinvenT conducted from time to time, a more in-depth analysis of the nature and the meaning of this general trend is noThemselves And TAke doubt necessary. Above and beyond exploring the effects of changing theconTrol of Their lives “who” in question, in other words, the subject of the sen- tence, (I, you, or we), such an analysis would be enriched by also taking into account the profound changes in our value system in light of the economic, ecological and ethical crises our society is currently undergoing. More to come...
interview d n ?A ow Ncyril chapuy global presidentl’Oréal paris internationalWHAT DOES THE “BECAUSE I’M WOrTH IT” SIGNATUrEMEAN FOr YOU? HOW HAS THIS SIGNATUrE BEEN A MILESTONE IN BEAUTY HISTOrY?Very few Brands – and all the more Beauty Brands - can proudthemselves of having such a famous landmark signature that We need to understand that « Because I’m Worth it », when itspeaks to every consumer in every country. “Because I’m was first created in 1971, was like a revolution in advertising.Worth it” is the claim that millions of consumers have heard These four words have broken with the existing codes of theand have dreamed of. A claim that has played a key role in our time that reduced women to some mute object subjected tooutstanding success throughout the world. If we are today the aesthetic norms set by men. While Clairol’s advertisementsthe Worldwide Leading Cosmetic Brand, it is because we have were spoken by a male voice, L’Oréal Paris offered a radicalbeen able to reach out to every market and every consumer, change in perspective with a female narrator, speaking in theexpand our expertise and innovations abroad, understand our first-person. With “Because I’m Worth it”, L’Oréal becomes theconsumers’ needs and respond to them. “Because I’m Worth it” Brand associated with life changes, giving women new ways tohas certainly contributed to such a success story by creating reinvent their lives. Women changed their lives and their hair.an intimate relationship with every woman from every place; It wasn’t one thing or the other. It was both...it has accompanied their emancipation, their independence,their progressive recognition in society…it has given them DOES THE SIGNATUrE CONTINUE TO BE rELEVANT TODAY?back the power, the means to go one step further, to accomplishtheir dreams and be who they want to be…through Beauty. Absolutely, and today more than ever. The signature became the Brand’s global claim in 1997, trans-WHAT IS THE IMPOrTANCE OF CELEBrATING lated on all markets, in every language. It really contributedITS ANNIVErSArY TODAY? to the globalization of L’Oréal Paris and its successful expan- sion. “Because I’m Worth it” evolved with society. From “I”, we40 years old is a good age…the best age…a symbolic age… switched to “You” and then “We” to establish its role in the col-It is about maturity and renewal…We’re celebrating 40 years lective community of strong women balancing out the manyof a motto that has been created by a woman for women and facets of their lives and their history.that has always perfectly matched women’s deep aspirations. A The “We” encompasses us all, and reunites those who share oursignature that shows that we have always believed in women’s values, around our large family of our Spokespersons. It is suchvalues and found the way to change Beauty into a path to a modern motto!empowerment. HOW DO YOU WANT THIS SIGNATUrE TO BE EMBODIED?But celebrating our 40th Anniversary means that we have atleast another 40 years to go! And our ambition is to continue to Through charismatic, modern, genuine, beautiful Ambassadors!accompany our consumers in their quest for Beauty. “Because The claim is of course deeply related to the SpokespersonsI’m Worth it” and today “Because You’re Worth it” is such a that are featured in our ads. “Because You’re Worth it” in Janemodern tagline. It speaks to both an 18-year old girl who is at Fonda’s mouth does not exactly mean the same thing that inthe early stages of her life and a more mature woman for whom Madame Ines de la Fressange or Fan Bing Bing’s ones. Each ofself-esteem and confidence mean something slightly different, our Spokesperson expresses it in her own way, with her style,in the light of her experience. attitude, character…It is the strength of L’Oréal Paris : beingGladwell acknowledged: “… “Because I’m Worth It” has ente- able to refer to different aspirational worlds.red the language…and taken on a meaning well outside the If we were to sum up what “Because You’re Worth it” means, Istayed intention.” would say that it is all about Beauty…Not a set of unchanging rules and criteria but expressed in very diverse ways, reflec- ting strong, authentic personalities with depth and substance. It is such a tribute to all women!
o nce interview on up me a ti beatrice dautresme, formerly executive vice-President ceo of the l’oréal corporate foundation, for corporate communications and external Affairs of l’oréal from 2005 to 2010 and the first woman member of the executive committee of l’oréal. she joined l’oréal in 1972. YOU ArE A WITNESS OF THE INTErNATIONALIzATION OF « BECAUSE I’M WOrTH IT”. CAN YOU TELL US MOrE ABOUT THIS SIGNATUrE? I remember, in the 70’s, the Prospective meetings we had with François Dalle, then President and CEO of L’Oréal. I was in l’oréAl hAd enTered charge, at the time, of the L’Oréal mass hair colour products in the Marketing team, and he used to narrate to us how L’Oréal And conquered The us had entered and conquered the US Hair colour market with a very bold and daring strategy that he initiated against all the hAir colour mArkeT US commercial teams afraid of a frontal battle with Clairol. He knew that US hair colour users would instantly perceive wiTh A very bold the higher quality of Preference, not just because of its refined colours but for the increased softness, manageability and shine And dAring sTrATegy of the Preference formula. So he decided to price Preference higher than Clairol because he sensed that American consu- mers would understand the equation: higher price = higher THrOUGHOUT YOUr CArEEr, YOU HAVE NEVEr quality. This was the foundation of the premium positioning STOPPED PUTTING “WOrTH-IT WOMEN” UNDEr of the L’Oréal products that would prove later such a winning THE SPOTLIGHT. DO YOU THINk BEAUTY strategy. The rest and how Mc Cann Ericsson translated that IS A PATH TO SELF-ACHIEVEMENT FOr THEM? formidable strategy into its legendary slogan is history… It is true that I have always searched all means to highlight ACCOrDING TO YOU, HOW DID THE SIGNATUrE the role of women in society. I strongly believe that no societyphoto page de droite : kai Juneman CONTrIBUTE TO MAkING L’OréAL PArIS can progress without an equally balanced number of men and THE WOrLDWIDE BEAUTY LEADEr? women amongst its decision making circles. My role at the head of the L’Oréal Corporate Foundation is a true testimony This signature was instrumental in making L’Oréal a true world- to that desire. And beauty or physical enhancement can help wide leader in Beauty. It represented a huge step forward in the women (and men equally), to better interact with each other in way women were portrayed and perceived in the advertising society, breaking the existing social barriers. Beauty can help world and the world at large. From plain consumers women women project a more assertive, empowered image of them- became empowered actors of their beauty purchases. They selves, and therefore assume the larger role they deserve in discovered new motivations to improve their looks, a renewed society. self-esteem and a higher, more assertive sense of themselves. And what has been particularly powerful about this signature is that it has underlined and matched women’s generational and cultural evolutions around the world. It has never been out of place or out of time.
a d’ interview w om endanielle korn, executive vice president, director of broadcast Operations, mccann erickson WHEN AND WHY WAS S THE SLOGAN BIWI “BECAUSE I’M WOrTH IT” FIrST CrEATED? HOW DID THE SLOGAN BIWI rEVOLUTIONIzE ADVErTISING? I wasn’t there 40 years ago but, from what I’ve heard, it was I don’t think anybody had ever done anything like it before. one of those stories of inspiration and perspiration. The crea- It was the sort of message that empowered women and no one tive directors, Ilon Specht and Ira Madras, were working very had ever thought of saying “It’s alright to spend more money late trying to come up with a new slogan for L’Oreal. The next on yourself.” That wasn’t the way most people thought in those morning Ilon return to the office saying she’d had a revelation, days. The slogan truly revolutionized advertizing in many ways an epiphany: The slogan would be “Because I’m worth it.” At and for many reasons. L’Oreal has always been one the bench- that time, four decades ago, there was little talk of empowering mark, gold standard brands, the brand everyone wants to work women, of their being “worth it,” so it was a quite a statement with. Celebrities have always wanted to do L’Oreal ads because on their behalf. The idea of a woman having the confidence to the campaigns are beautiful and because they make an impor- aude gandon, executive vice-president europe say, “It’s alright if I spend a few extra dollars for this particular tant statement about self-worth. “Because I’m worth it” has brand, because it’s good and I’m worth it” was new. It was a evolved over the years. From “I’m worth it” to “you’re worth worldwide account director mccann erickson message that truly empowered women. it” to “We’re worth it” were all revolutionary messages. The words have even become part of our everyday language and people associate those words with L’Oreal. Women talk about« iT’s AlrighT if i sPend A few what it means and now men are even talking about it. (As you HOW HAS THE USE OF SPOkESPErSONS IMPACTED HOW DO YOU THINk BIWI ADVErTIzING WILL EVOLVE IN know, we’re going to enter the men’s market as well.) Women L’OrEAL PArIS ADVErTISING? THE YEArS TO COME?exTrA dollArs for This had never felt that way about themselves and they didn’t think they had the right to spend money on themselves. The slogan It’s had a huge impact. L’Oreal was one of the first brands to I see it evolving continuously since, obviously, to be able toPArTiculAr brAnd, becAuse changed that. sign actresses and celebrities to advertise their products. It’s meet the needs of a rapidly changing world, everything has to been quite powerful because, suddenly, women of all types were evolve. But there are going to be constants. The values of theiT’s good And i’m worTh iT » HOW HAVE SPOkESPErSONS MADE THE STATEMENT represented women with different lives, different skills, diffe- L’Oreal Paris brand are self-esteem and beauty, which is deeply THEIr OWN? HOW HAVE THEY rELATED IT TO THEIr rent careers, women coming from very different backgrounds connected to self-esteem. There will always be a dedication to OWN LIVES? as well as women with quite different types of beauty. It’s all innovation, dedication to product performance, dedication DID YOU kNOW ILON SPECHT PErSONALLY? very inspirational. Encouraging people to realize that there are to women, and now to men and to teenagers, too, since we WHAT SOrT OF WOMAN WAS SHE? Having been with L’Oreal for 23 years, I’ve worked with many so many different kinds of beauty is what L’Oreal is all about. have products for them as well. That’s who we are and we’re celebrities, among others, Cybil Shepherd, Diane keaton, Jane not going to forget our core values. We’re about beauty, self- Since I wasn’t there at the time I didn’t know her personally. Fonda, Beyonce, Jennifer Lopez and Freida Pinto. Every single IN YOUr OPINION, IN WHAT WAYS IS THE BIWI BASELINE esteem, innovation and product performance. Of course, all of Ilon was working with Ira Madras on the entire campaign, and one of them has made the statement her own. Just as Ilon Specht STILL MODErN? that will be continuously updated and modernized as will the she deserves full credit for the slogan because it was her idea. did 40 years ago, they each identify with those words and feel look of the brand. The media through which we communicate Advertizing is an art, and like any other art, what is happe- that it’s an important message to communicate—to women in I think it’s more modern than ever before! Women have gone will also evolve. Like every other business around the world, it ning to the artist inside, what he or she is going through psy- general, to women in their particular age group or community through an amazing evolution, a revolution every woman from won’t be just the advertizing that changes. It’s not just about chologically, is often expressed in the message his or her work or culture—Black, Hispanic or European—no matter whether everywhere around the world, from the developed markets to TV and print anymore, it’s about digital and about the retail conveys. It was no doubt an important message for her at that they’re rich or poor, old or young. They’ve all felt good about the developing markets. Women’s roles in society have chan- environment. All of this is especially relevant to beauty care period in her life. She must have needed to express her own having the opportunity to say those words. I don’t remember ged enormously and they continue to evolve. L’Oreal as a brand because it’s all about making dreams come true. Things won’t sense of worth and felt it was a time when many other women whether it was Heather Locklear or Andy MacDowell, but at has always been very forward-thinking and it was quite brave be unrecognizably different, of course, but the messages will be were experiencing the same need. some point, either Heather or Andy said, “I’m not sure if I’m of them to use that baseline back in the 70s. When you think conveyed by different media in different ways. comfortable saying ‘I’m worth it’. I mean, it’s okay but I want about it, in the 70s it was pretty bold to have women saying other women to feel like they’re worth it too.” That had an “Because I’m worth it.” It meant women had the right to think impact on us and we thought perhaps we should make the mes- of themselves as valued and appreciated, the way L’Oreal had sage more inclusive. Maybe we should be saying “we’re worth always valued and appreciated them. L’Oreal is dedicated to it” or “you’re worth it” because that makes it acceptable for women, to making them feel more powerful and more confi- all of us to feel that sort of self-esteem. So, weve listened to dent. L’Oreal encourages them to push back their limits, to our celebrity spokespersons and they’ve helped us evolve the make themselves stronger and happier to bring out the best in brand. themselves for the future.
spokewomen spokewomen fan bing bingclaudia schiffer “i adore this slogan, especially the word gong li“ beauty is individual “worth”. it symbolizesto everyone and can be the self-confidence and “it has had afound in many different power of a person, which is revolutionarythings. it means that you exactly what i seek.” influence onshould respect yourself madame ines chinese womenand treat yourself well.” de la fressange and their views diane kruger about beauty and Andie macdowell “it is about self- cosmetic. in our freida Pinto “every woman has a gwen stefani esteem – being hearts, L’Oreal “ i think it right to feel beautiful able to love paris is no encourages women “ beauty truly lies and make sure she “Just trying to be yourself so you longer a brand, to see and feel their in the hands of the feels good in her good to yourself can love others but the symbol value; for every beholder but self- own skin. The famous because we really better. it’s a of beauty and woman to know they confidence and slogan emphasizes are all worth it!” great source of fashion.” are worth it. ” keeping it ‘real’ goes this.” pride!” a long way! ” W hat do es "B ecaus e I’m wor th it » me ans to you eva longoria “my mother used to buy the red lipstick at the diane keaton pharmacy. and imilla Jovovich Aimee mullins would sneak into “i always said…it should be her purse and put“That all women deserve “it’s a very powerful and lætitia casta “we’re” worth it…not “i’m” it on. One day,the best in life!” eternal slogan which worth it. because we are all she caught me and we can all claim for our “each woman women, all sizes and shapes and doutzen kroes i thought i would own. if you can remind deserves the best ethnic backgrounds. women are be in trouble but yourself that you are liya kebede and thanks to powerful and i mean all women.” “That every woman should be she told me,“go worth investing the time L’Oréal paris it is proud of who she is and its a ahead, you’re and energy to take care of “That a woman has possible for her celebration of our strength. worth it” ” yourself, others will treat embraced her inner to reach it. women real beauty does come from the you that way, too.” beauty, her value, and are more confident inside for me.” her power and is ready when they feel to share it with the pretty, loved and world.” desired.”
interviewWHAT DOES THE CLAIM “BECAUSE I’M HOW HAS IT rESONATED FOr YOU?WOrTH IT” MEAN TO YOU ? But, the women’s movement and the empowerment that theMany, if not most, women feel guilty if they spend time on movement refers to has to do with laws, policies, women’sthemselves. What “Because you’re worth it,” means for me is, voices being heard in the entire public arena. Beauty doesn’t“You women have the right to look and feel your best. When really have anything to do with this except in a bad way: ityou look and feel good, you are better able to face all the chal- is often easier for beautiful women to get hired. The L’Oreallenges of your busy lives.” slogan, for me, is more about personal empowerment—how a woman feels about herself.IN YOUr OPINION, HOW HAS BEAUTYCHANGED WOMEN’S LIFE? WHAT GIVES YOU CONFIDENCE?Beauty has been a boon for women but also a terrible burden. I feel confident when I am with people who love me; when IWe are often made to feel that we are worthless if we aren’t am good at something; when something I’ve done gets recogni-beautiful. We all need to encourage women to understand that tion; and when I know I look my best---such as when I walkedsome of the most beautiful women in the world are not beau- the red carpet in Cannes for L’Oreal!tiful in the standard way, but beautiful because they feel goodabout themselves— inside. They shine. Often these are women WHAT IS IT TO BE A L’OréAL SPOkESPErSON?who were made to feel beautiful by their parents, so that issomething else we need to do: educate parents to make their There are lots of aspects to being a L’Oreal spokesperson: I earnchildren feel beautiful no matter what their shape or size. money which often goes to my non-profits; I get to know other fascinating women...like Aimee Mullins and Freida Pinto; I getWHAT kIND OF MESSAGE / ADVICE WOULD LIkE my favorite skin creams and makeups free, I have to learn toTO PASS ON TO YOUNGEr WOMEN’S GENErATION ? try and be glamorous on camera (which is very different than being an actor and it’s hard for me), and I get to know interes-Young women need to be taught to respect themselves, their ting, hip, business people.bodies and their looks no matter what. They need to unders-tand that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes and colors andthat it is how you feel about yourself, how you carry yourself "young women need To be(posture, attitude), that matters most. This means eating heal-thy, fresh food and exercising to stay fit. It also means caring TAughT To resPecT Themselves,for their skin and, especially young adolescents , keeping theirskin clean and moisturized. Their bodies And Their looksIN YOUr OPINION, HOW DOES THE SLOGAN no mATTer whAT".HAS ACCOMPANIED WOMEN’S EMANCIPATIONOVEr THE PAST 4 DECADES? WHAT ArE YOUr FOrTHCOMING PrOJECTS?In terms of the Women’s movement, no progress would have I have my new, best selling book about living and aging, Primebeen made for women’s equal rights and emancipation had Time, coming out in France in February. I have a new Frenchwomen across the world not believed they were worth it— film coming out soon, “... Et si on vivait tous ensemble?”, withworth having the right to vote, worth being CEOs, worth being Pierre richard, Guy Bedos, Claude rich, Geraldine Chaplinfree from violence and sexual abuse and so forth. So the slogan and Daniel Bruhl. I will start a new movie in 2012. I have newthat L’Oreal chose in 1971 is appropriate in that “being worth fitness programs on DVDs that are coming out in the U.S. now.it”resonates with women. I am writing 3 new books about adolescents and sexuality. I am starting to learn to play tennis and soon I will start tap dancing lessons.