Great Expectations

Posted on September 7, 2008

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I have a folder full of future blog post ideas.  It usually takes a perfect storm to make any one of them come to life.  It happened again last weekend, which leads me to a discussion of great expectations and a missed opportunity.  Here's the story:

My friend L and I both need new mascara.  Of course, we've also both become addicted to expensive products over the years and no longer bat a black eyelash at the thought of paying $40+ for the prospect of longer, fuller lashes.  So, while devising ways to lengthen the life of our expensive tubes, we both lamented that while we spend all our money on the gunk, celebrity makeup artists, who could use anything in their bag of tricks always seem to be praising $6.99 Great Lash.  Guess maybe those celebs are "born with it." 

L and I have both substituted with the cheap stuff over the years, but always come back to our standing (much more expensive) favorites.  That's why, when on my Jet Blue flight to San Francisco, I was thrilled when the flight attendant approached with a free pink tube of what else, but Great Lash.  Guess they have to make up for charging me for a pillow somehow.  But honestly, what a strange thing to give away on a plane.  If I hadn't just been talking about my need for new mascara, I wouldn't have thought a thing of it.

Enter: missed opportunity.  Here you have a flight attendant handing out free stuff (which people love, as evidenced by the fact that all the men on the plane happily accepted her gift), but there's nothing else attached.  I'm sure that Maybelline entered into some kind of marketing agreement with Jet Blue… but there was very little marketing being done.  Why not include something to tell me how great the product is, to show me that all the stars are using it, and reinforce the message that celeb makeup artists depend on it?  A photo, a flyer, anything?  My guess is they're thinking once they get it in our hands, we're bound to use it and fall in love. 

That may be true… but we're all looking for affirmation about our decisions in life.  I can't bring myself to tell L that I'm giving into a drug store brand without a fact like, "you know that SJP won't use anything else," to back up my choice.  The message: if you think your product stands on its own, that's great and I applaud your confidence, Maybelline.  But, if you want me to be your product evangelist, I'm going to need a little fodder to work with.  Maybe I'm born with it, maybe it's Maybelline, but I don't do free PR.

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