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The Advertising Century

Shirley Polykoff

Published on .

Shirley Polykoff
Foote, Cone & Belding, New York

Her copy for Clairol built the hair-coloring industry. Considering copy to be a "direct conversation with the consumer," she suggestively asked in 1956, "Does she . . . or doesn't she? Only her hairdresser knows for sure," and "Is it true blondes have more fun?" Clairol sales increased by 413% in six years as more than 50% of U.S. adult women began using hair color, up from 7%. A mom from Brooklyn with retail copy experience, she became Foote, Cone & Belding's lone woman copywriter in 1955 and was assigned to Clairol because it was felt only she would understand the product. Polykoff considered herself "just an articulate consumer in the client's offices."

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