Its funny really, how you go through life and become acquainted with slogans accumulated by brands. But you don’t necessarily know the history or creative energy that formed that saying, you just know whenever you hear those words, whether it’s on the TV or the radio, you think of that brand. I mean, everyone must know that ‘Because I’m worth it’, is associated with L’oreal. I simply cannot imagine otherwise.
And it’s funny how those sayings start to introduce themselves as apart of our everyday language. You may have joked with friends borrowing the phrase. However, it wasn’t until I read What the Dog Saw by Malcolm Gladwell, that I actually considered the past of L’oreal. Being born in in the 90′s and growing up, I had witnessed these adverts when the model will say ‘Because I’m worth it’ but I didn’t necessarily know the true power and strength of those words, until I read What the Dog Saw. And it’s not just with L’oreal either, other slogans you just accept and filter through apart of everyday life. I find myself increasingly stopping and asking why?
So I would like to share with you, what I learned about L’oreal and someone called Ilon Specht upon reading this book. Ilon Specht was working as a Copywriter, along with men, she was trying to configure what the slogan for L’oreal should be. She grew angry, frustrated and tired of the men she was working with, and their derogatory demeanor towards women, and treating them as objects:
“She spoke about what it meant to be young in a business dominated by older men, and about what it felt like to write a line of copy that used the word woman and have someone cross it out and write girl. “I was a twenty-three-year-old girl – a woman” she said. ” What would my state of mind have been? I could just see that they had this traditional view of women, and my feeling was that I’m not writing an ad about looking good for men, which is what seems to be that they were doing. I just thought Fuck you. I sat down and did it, in five minutes. It was very personal. I can recite to you the whole commercial, because I was so angry when I wrote it”
Specht sat stock still and lowered her voice ” I use the most expensive hair colour in the world. Prefernce, by L’oreal. It’s not that I don’t care about money. It’s that I care about my hair. It’s not just the colour. I expect great colour. What’s worth more to me is the way my hair feels. Smooth and silky but with body. It feels good against my neck. Actually, I don’t mind spending more for L’oreal. Because I’m – and here Specht took her fist and struck her chest – “worth it”. (Gladwell, 2009:80)
Specht was working in a time in which women were oppressed in many ways, especially within the realm of work. And reading that passage you gain insight into her frustration and desire to show men that women are important too. It is these concepts that fundamentally make the commercials so powerful. There is substance and meaning. L’oreal really was a brand that motivated women, and saw them as being far greater than objects. Upon learning this information, I have established a deeper level of respect for L’oreal as a company. I guess it’s a real shame that this message is lost. I hope by writing this blog I push to keep it alive.