OLAY

Behind the plenitude

ORIGINAL

Our History

Beginning with our original Pink Beauty Fluid in 1952, we have held the string belief that it’s possible for every woman to be her best beautiful. [sic] Discover why every second, somewhere in the world, a woman will choose Olay.

Our History

1952: A GIFT FROM A MAN TO HIS WIFE
The original “pink” Beauty Fluid is created by South African chemist Graham Wulff, inspired by his wife and other women who want deep hydration without the thick heavy creams of the day.

1950s–1960s: GLOBALIZATION
Oil of Olay starts becoming available to women across the globe.

1960s: NEW PERSONALIZED SKINCARE REGIMEN
Responding to women’s changing needs, the brand continues to improve its night cream formulas.

1980s: EXPANSION WITH A NEW ATTITUDE
Oil of Olay expands into cleansing as well as sensitive skin and intensive moisture variants, while adopting the new attitude “I don’t intend to grow old gracefully, I intend to fight it every step of the way.”

1990s: INNOVATION WITH A NEW NAME
‘Oil of Olay’ officially becomes ‘Olay’, and advances in research and technology allow the brand to move beyond hydration and cleansing into more proactive anti-aging skincare.

2000s: LEADING TECHNOLOGICAL BREAKTHROUGH
Harnessing the power of innovation and partnering with world-renowned dermatologists, Olay launches new products that work at the surface cellular level for younger-looking skin and that treat the root causes of skin concerns.

Today: AGELESS
Our mission at Olay? Transformation that leaves skin beautifully ageless. So while some things might give away your age… your skin doesn’t have to tell. #Ageless


NOTES

Criticizing copy is a vexed enterprise for a number of reasons. One is the complicity between businesses and customers, particularly visible in the publicity output of cosmetics companies. When copywriters can use phrases like ‘plenitude active liposomes’ and ‘visibly fights 7 signs of ageing’ without fear of ridicule — L’Oreal and Olay respectively — something very like co-dependency is in the air.

In such cases, a frontal attack à la Waugh or Frayn is inadvisable. After all, who wants to tell women that their beauty regimes are ineffective? Better to hold back and wait for a gap to open. Overextension will reveal the advertiser’s hand.

This week’s example demonstrates how thin and unconvincing even high-budget campaigns can appear when viewed in detail. It’s apparent that Olay’s pseudo-timeline was worked up from a couple of sentences of not-very-privileged information and a rehash of some existing ads. The piece would be unimpressive even if the advertiser had corrected the clanging typos and settled the lexical uncertainties (Pink Beauty Fluid vs. “pink” Beauty Fluid etc).

Our rewrite replaces waffle with statistics. The technique is borrowed from certain UK WWII propaganda leaflets, which included accurate football results in order to enhance their credibility. (It’s a shame that we don’t know the actual sales figures, but you get the idea.)

OUR VERSION

Olay’s History

1952: South African chemist Graham Wulff presents the first bottle of ‘Oil of Olay’ to his wife.

1953: First over-the-counter sales.

1958: ‘Oil of Ulay’ (Olay) on sale in UK, Ireland and Australia.

1959: ‘Oil of Olaz’ enters France, Italy, the Netherlands and Germany.

1960: First US sales. Richardson-Merrell acquire Olay. Sales surpass xxxx units…

1972: …and then yyyy units

1985: Olay joins the Procter&Gamble family.

1988: Olay expands into cleansing as well as sensitive skin and intensive moisture variants.

1999: ‘Oil of Olay’ officially becomes ‘Olay’ worldwide (except in Germany, Italy and the Netherlands, where it’s known as ‘Olaz’).

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