Mary Kay Brand – Making Up For Lost Time?

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Mary Kay Cosmetics has run into trouble with their brand reputation. What started as an empowering business opportunity for women in an age where “being your own boss” was unheard of, has become “your mother’s makeup company,” the opposite of the fresh-faced cosmetics company that it once was.

If you Google “Mary Kay advertising,” you will see a number of articles on how to accrue clients and build a personal sales website. This model has worked for them; it is a model built on personal relationships and trust, where product testing and salesmanship sells the product. The product comes to you, and it is your choice whether or not to buy it.

This new national television ad buy signals a new age in the Mary Kay model, one that is designed around a new client. This client is young, she wants options, and she wants to buy when it is convenient for her. This client buys online.

This is not to say that Mary Kay will be doing away with their sales team any time soon. This business has been built on the principle that women can have a career that fits into their schedule, and not the other way around. There will still be huge makeup cases on wheels and pink Cadillacs in their future, but there will also be younger consumers.

This commercial features young women. It features colorful, trendy clothing; happy, playful women; and Pinterest-worthy celebrations. The viewer clearly gets the message that Mary Kay is for girls who have fun. This commercial is not about skin care, a worry that women under 30 tend to place less importance on; it is about experimenting with your look and finding out what works for you. A quick Google search on the commercial also brings up several articles about identifying the song in the background, which is another clever tactic to appeal to younger women.

The most notable feature of the commercial, however, is that they mention the website before they mention the Mary Kay sales consultant. This is a clear indicator of the importance of online sales to the future of the company. However, are they too late for the party? Their previous youth-focused effort, the Mary Kay Velocity line and MK Signature, were not the hits that they were purported to be; will Mary Kay be a young woman’s brand ever again? If this commercial means that the company is embracing online sales and national advertising, it very well could be.

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