That cosmetics advertisers have an almost sacred relationship with the print media has long been apparent from Video Storyboard Tests' list of Outstanding Print Campaigns. When the 1995 list is released next month, for example, Revlon will again rank in the Top 10, its 12th such appearance in the list's 13 years. Maybelline has made the list in nine of those 13 years, while Estee Lauder makes the occasional appearance as well. But none of them have made it against the top TV advertisers.
As Dick Tarlow, whose Tarlow Advertising, New York, handles all Revlon campaigns, explains: "Our budgets are so much smaller than the Budweisers and McDonald's of television land we cannot compete."
The playing field only begins to level when Mr. Tarlow pinpoints his target in select print vehicles with precise messages.
"Our share of voice in Vogue is much better than our share of voice on any CBS show," he said.
If segmentation levels the field, subject matter gives cosmetics a home-court advantage. This goes back to selling hope, about which Maybelline Exec VP of Marketing Cathy Wills knows plenty.
"Women don't hear a commercial and buy a cosmetic product. They need a moment to carefully absorb the subtle shifts in colors and looks ...They want to translate the new look to themselves." Women want "the relaxed luxury of print," she said.
Not that cosmetics marketers disdain TV. Two-thirds of the category's ad outlays are devoted to the medium and Ms. Wills herself calls it "a dramatic way to deliver product news." But only print "lets the reader relate to the model one-on-one."
There are more reasons. The models are print models instead of TV stars; lack of time and space in broadcast ads to show 100% variations of colors and provide other in-depth information; the "beauty expertise" of the surrounding editorials; etc. Whatever, the reason, print works for cosmetics.
Dave Vadehra is president of Video Storyboard Test. Campaign Clout reports on consumer response to current advertising.