What Did Chanel Know And When?
The planet’s most successful enterprises know one certain truth:
American women make the majority of the buying decisions.
We are moms and wives, often the head-of-households and in control of the purse strings. We are emancipated and usually have our own prowess and income.
In other words, like Helen said, “Hear us roar.”
We also often bury our own needs for our children. We are caretakers. Yet, we do ensure that our own materialistic and “feeling pretty” needs are met.
Lipstick. Red lipstick. Never enough, and in so many shades.
Coco Chanel may be best known for her pearls draped over sumptuous fabrics – she is coveted for that slender black case with interlocking C’s that we stealthily lift from our handbags. A pigment for every mood, encounter, experience and trip to the ladies room, or at (yes) the end of a meal at the table no less (though we know better, we do it anyway).
One Mad Men episode focuses on women and their relationship with lipstick. This love of and attachment to the stain and the “hope” that it brings each of us is nothing new. While the treadmill of our lives rarely gives way to time for ourselves, we too locate that small tool for beauty and “us.”
We contemplate what the next big thing might be. What was inside of Steve Job’s head that he took to the grave? Our next content consumption experience. Will it be embedded on the inside of our glasses or contacts, or maybe implanted. Will we escape the tedium of daily life to turn on our own “channel”, that only plays for each of us alone?
Will we ever do one thing at a time again? Or is this crazed world of multitasking with us ad infinitum?
I am 48. Certainly not ancient, but at least middle aged and then some. My grandma recently died at age 103, but I am well aware it is doubtful that I will surpass that number. And she would say that no one should live that long. Who are we without cohorts? And let’s get it straight – the cohort group of 100+ year olds may be growing, but it is not vast.
Red lipstick (in the broad range of the “red” spectrum) has been in my life since I was a co-ed. While I had my student “allowance,” I still purchased the reds. As a young executive, there was always a choice in my handbag. My young daughters witnessed the motion that I have always been able to perform sans mirror.
I recently lunched with a friend – in a “traditional” downtown club. Without thinking I gauchely reached for my “Metal Garnet.” No bad look of “poor manners” shot in my direction. Only “what shade is that?” Upon our return to the office she borrowed the shade (somehow her stash was misplaced.)
We girlfriends have been swapping looks since childhood.
Yesterday was a “shopping” day with my daughter. She is to return in a few days to college with some necessary clothing items. I left Saks with Chanel’s “Famous,” a rich and metal-flecked smooth and delicious shade with matching nail polish. My text to my GF said – it’s called “Famous,” no kidding…
Fellow marketers take note:
Coco may not have been Jobs, but she knew a thing or two about women.
You can question her brilliance. Argue about who she was as a person. And debate the standing of her little black casing in the hierarchy of things that transformed this gig known as being human.
But did she know women?
Better than we know ourselves.
My Grandma Esther donned lipstick till the day she died.
And I never remember her without it.
- by AWSC
- posted at 5:00 am
- January 6, 2012