Mark Tungate (author); BRANDED BEAUTY; Kogan Page (Nonfiction: Social Sciences) $29.95 ISBN: 9780749461812
Byline: Claire Posner
For many women, and quite a few men, a beauty product of some kind ranks as an absolute must-have before leaving the house. A 2010 survey of over 8,000 French women revealed that 25 percent would not consider leaving the house without some form of make-up. Although the desire to enhance one's looks has its roots in antiquity, the acceptance level of cosmetics has ebbed and flowed throughout history, ranging from being celebrated in royal courts to being disparaged as the devious tools of prostitutes and actresses. In Branded Beauty, Mark Tungate follows the key companies and personalities that brought make-up to the masses, forever changing the way people think about beauty, while also making the multi-billion dollar cosmetic industry one of the most profitable in the world.
The first half of the book describes the rise, usually from very humble beginnings, of industry legends such as Helena Rubinstein, Elizabeth Arden, Estee Lauder, Max Factor, and Charles Revson. Tungate notes that what unites these figures, many of whom were fierce rivals, was their ability to craft a story behind their products that would enchant their customers and draw them into a world of beauty and glamor. They pioneered such marketing strategies as the gift with purchase, in-store sampling, and the idea that customers were not just buying a product, but paying for an experience (which of course justified the hefty price tag). Tungate's descriptive writing and cliffhanger chapter endings make the biographical portion of the...