Maybelline Company Advertising Strategy


Maybelline is a makeup brand that was first identified by Tom Lyle Williams in 1915. The product came about after Williams spotted his sister using Vaseline mixed with coal ash to make her eyelashes appear darker and he immediately thought of making a make-up product out of it (Phillips 21). He managed to locally manufacture the product and named it after his sister who was called Maybel, which he combined with Vaseline to come up with the product name Maybelline, that later took the market by storm as they recorded huge sales both locally and internationally. After accumulating revenues from the sales, the company ventured into manufacturing modern cosmetics like eye-shadow make-up called Maybelline Cake Mascara that was a unique product and the first one of its kind in the market. They made use of movie stars and celebrities of the time like Sarah Michelle Gellar, Fasha Reiy and Jessica White to market and promote their products.

Their advertising slogan that was adopted in the early 1990s was, “Maybe She’s Born With It. Maybe It’s Maybelline” (DeNavarre 37). The Maybelline Company has scaled heights in the industry from a small mail-order catalogue business to a global cosmetic industry that now produces a wide range of eye and facial products. Maybelline cosmetic products are manufactured using a mixture of stearate soap, zinc oxide, tartrazine used mainly for lipstick products, Iron oxide or carminic acid that produces a strong red color and is obtained from cochineal insects, sunscreen agents, rehydration agents, seed oil and refined petroleum among other ingredients that made it appear oily and scented.

It was now more appealing and promising than the earlier versions that had foul smell and unrefined texture. Research has show that most cosmetics contain high concentrations of toxins and harmful chemical ingredients that may result in skin irritation, acnes or cancer. Unfortunately, food and drug administration (FDA) who are concerned with certifying product safety before releasing to the consumers have very little control over the ingredients the cosmetic firms use when manufacturing their products. Some of the harmful chemicals include formaldehyde, coal tar and hydroxyl acids that are carcinogenic and may cause cancer hence such components should not be used and if used then should be in very minimal quantities (Phillips 99).

Thesis statement

The working thesis for this particular essay is, “the role of advertisement in promoting Maybelline cosmetics” and from this thesis various aspects of product advertisement have been exemplified. Tom Lyle promoted his cosmetic products by packaging them in golden casings and placed advertisements on magazines like the Deliniator and the Pictorial Review magazines to gain publicity and attract more clients (DeNavarre 48). He made use of convincing words and eye catching pictorials to catch their attention. Advertising for Maybelline, he claimed that the product softens and moisturizes the eyelids and eyelashes. It also makes the hair have a deeper color and promote its faster growth. He also made use of affirming words like Maybelline is a genuine, natural, safe and authentic product that has been used by millions of women in the cosmetic industry for over a decade with perfect results and no side effects whatsoever.

These strategies worked the magic of creating a reputable image for the product and convincing many women and beauty pageants to use them. Marketing strategy is a layout plan by an organization to promote the sale of its products and attain substantial publicity among its target customers. It basically entails examining the market situation and the competitors and analyzing the target market before settling on the most effective distribution channel. Identifying an appropriate marketing channel is critical as it determines how the products will get to the target consumers. Some of the marketing strategies documented by Wilber Alberts in his Journal on, Marketing Strategic Models included pricing strategy, product differentiation, SWOT analysis concept, branding, internet marketing strategy and advertising strategy (Alberts 43).

After critical analysis of the market, a business firm can narrow down to specific marketing strategies that will best suit their products. For instance, pricing strategies has been used by Alvimias Company to promote their beauty products by lowering their prices below the market price so as to attract consumers in the highly competitive cosmetic industry in Taiwan. The company registered a 50% increase on sales after cutting down on the prices of most of their products (Alberts 43). Maybelline Company made use of packaging and advertising strategies to promote their cosmetic products.

They packed their makeup with small bristle brushes; mirrors and user guide booklets to ensure new clients use the product in the correct manner and with much ease. The company has heavily invested in advertisements because they have been the major driving force behind their success over the years. For instance, the company spent over one million dollars on advertisement between 1915 and 1929 (Williams 69). They featured most prominent personalities and actresses hence the company had to spend heavily to hire such personalities but the ultimate proceedings from their sales were far much higher than the expenses. For example, the vamp look on actress Pola Negri significantly promoted the eye make-up from a section of her fans who wanted to look like her hence promoting its sales across the globe. Hence advertising strategy played a critical role in establishing the Company in the industry.


Some key highlights in this particular advertisement that contrast with the reality on the ground include the aspect of Maybelline being considered as a natural product and yet it contained a mixture of chemical ingredients and synthetic compounds that are far from natural in fact compounds such as aluminum oxide used as an ingredient, was found to cause inflammations resulting in skin acnes. Also the company’s slogan, “Maybe She’s Born With It. Maybe It’s Maybelline” does not hold water as the products are artificial and when applied, one can easily identify them from those with the natural appearance. Tom Lyle claimed that it could be used to cure baldness after using several packets; this ensured that the company gained from desperate clients before they give up on them.

The company also claimed that their products had no side effects to its users. These claims had no basis as their products were manufactured from a mixture of chemical compounds as synthetic wax and acrylates copolymer which are far from natural and may cause irritations and blockage of pores on sensitive skins (Poucher 56). The company was also accused of exaggerating the facial appearance of their models after applying the make-ups which was not the case in real situations. In the year 1933, the company received a significant drop in sales despite numerous advertisements, this was after associating their products with immorality perceived from the movie actresses of the 1930s (Williams 72).

The company did well to contain the sudden drop in sales by cutting down on the market prices of their products. They also changed from using movie actresses to using models to promote their cosmetic products. It was during this period that the company incorporated radio and more of journals and magazines on the list of their advertising arsenals. They also made use of mails as their products could now be ordered by clients and delivered through mail coupons at pocket friendly prices. These services were available at all the retail outlets across the region. Soon, the Maybelline Company gained momentum and slowly bounced back to its previous position in the cosmetic industry. They later diversified their products to meet the ever changing demands and preferences of their clients by introducing eyebrow pencils and eye shadows that came in a variety of forms and color.

Aspects of Advertisement

The question on the importance of seeing beyond the ideal image represented in the advertisement can be explicitly answered from the above scenario. More often than not, advertisements presented forth by business firms are exaggerated to meet their ultimate goal of capturing consumer’s attention and satisfactorily convincing them to buy their products. Customers hence ought to keep this aspect in mind when purchasing the products. Business firms also have an obligation to give accurate information about the product they are marketing because it is unethical and against the law to give consumers misleading information concerning a product which does not fulfill the purported attributes.

Such ambiguous information may lead to drastic repercussions on the users and the company may be forced to face harsh legal actions that may lead to its eventual downfall. In my opinion, there are a number of issues that ought to be addressed in this advertisement and they include a sample picture of the Maybelline make-up and its casing other than just using pictures of models and actresses on the advertisement page. In so doing, the customers can easily identify them on the shelves while shopping hence increasing their sales. The company should also consider marketing their products on the internet and social sites since at this present age and time, internet has become an indispensable asset in reaching out to the targeted clients in as far as advertisement is concerned hence the need to embrace technology.

Internet is found to be a very cost effective strategy for advertising hence if properly implemented with the help of information technologists, then the Company will reap bountifully from this marketing channel. Instituting a website domain will also enable them go global and enable their clients get to know of the latest developments in the company like new cosmetic brands or a change in prices of their products hence keeping close contacts with their esteemed customers and increasing their networking capabilities in the market. Since the target consumers are ladies, the company should focus on using artifacts and colors that are more feminine and attractive to catch their attention. The advertisement also ought to be brief, precise and direct to the point to enable one get the intended information at a glance and avoid wordy phrases that make it monotonous and confusing.

Reflective Statement

This essay elaborates on the various aspects of advertising strategy that have been successfully used to promote Maybelline products and some of the challenges and shortcomings that Tom Lyle had to contend with while marketing the cosmetics. In my opinion, the advertising strategy is only advantageous to the business firm but for the consumers, there is need to take an extra step and carryout some detailed research from literature materials and internet sources about these products so as to get more insight and information before settling on the most appropriate ones to use.

The main aim of the cosmetics is to enhance one’s look but if the consumers will not take precaution and care when buying these products, then the result may be the direct opposite of their expectations as they may result in inflammations and defragmentation of the skin due to toxic ingredients. After doing this research work on cosmetics, I have become more enlightened about these products, their safety, channels of distribution and their marketing strategies and to this end, I prefer using naturally manufactured body lotions and highly minimize on makeup and other cosmetic products. In conclusion, the advantages that Maybelline make-up has over other cosmetics include: it is easy to use; its texture is brilliant and blends well with the skin tone ranging from light skin to darker complexion (Alberts 43).

The make-up does not contain heavy metals and harmful chemicals oil hence safe on skin. These attributes of Maybelline combined with effective publication and marketing has enabled it to stand out and have a command of the cosmetic market hence effective advertising strategy is a key to a successful business venture. It was through advertisements that Maybelline managed to generate an extensive network of customers both locally and internationally and stand out in the cosmetic industry. In 1937, the company extended its links to Canada, Europe, and South America among other nations across the world making it a global industry.

Annotated Bibliography

Alberts Wilber. Management of Cosmetic Firms, Journal on Marketing Strategic Models. 3.3 (2012): 23. Print.

The author did his research at Oxford University using data from the journals by Tom Lyle and other literature materials on cosmetics and makeup. He realized that the cosmetic industry is growing at an alarming rate and new players are proliferating in the market each day hence the need to devise effective marketing strategies to outshine other competitors. He demonstrated the various strategies used by cosmetic firms to market their products and how effective they can be when properly implemented.

Begoun, Paula. Mineral Makeup in Cosmetics. New York: Penguin, 2002. Print.

The author has a specialty in cosmetics and has published a series of books on cosmetics including Almay Clear Complexion Liquid Makeup, Avon Smooth Minerals Pressed Foundation, L’Oreal Paris True Match Super Blendable Makeup SPF 17, among many other related books. She explicitly explained in her book the chemical composition of Maybelline makeup and other facial makeups and the role they played in moisturizing and softening the skin.

DeNavarre, Maison. The Chemistry and Manufacture of Cosmetics. Boston: Van Nostrand Company, 1941. Print.

The author is a chemical engineer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and has done an in-depth research on chemistry and manufacture of cosmetics. It was through his research work that we realize all make-ups have a chemical composition in them which are far much from the natural and the same sentiments were echoed by pharmacist Park Davis who also did a great deal of research on dermatology.

Phillips, Michael. Skin Deep: The Truth About Beauty Aids. New York: Garden City Publishing, 1934. Print.

The author obtained insight from American Journals of Public Health and the Nation’s Health. He analyzed the impact of cosmetics on the skin pigment and recommended the appropriate ingredients that were safe to use and those that were harmful like mercury, sodium stearate, synthetic wax and acrylates copolymer.

Poucher, William. Perfumes, Cosmetics and Soaps. Journal on Synthetic Cosmetics 10.2 (1932): 56. Print.

The author in his journal, Poucher’s Perfumes, Cosmetics and Soaps volume 2, brought some insights on the production, manufacture and application of cosmetics including Maybelline. He also drew a contrast with the modern convention of synthetic cosmetics. He did his series of research in Amazon University with the help of college students in the department of chemistry

Williams, Smith. Mascara: The Liquid Eyeliner. Florida: Bettie Books Publishing, (2010). Print.

An author and professor in the University of Liverpool, he did his research at Brown University and found that Maybelline made the eyelashes appear darker and to some degree grow faster. He pointed out that the major setback the company faced in the 1930s was the negative attitude that people had towards it after it being associated with immoral characters.

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