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Promotional Modeling and Brand Ambassadors Through the Ages

11 Feb
cocochanel

Coco Chanel

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when promotional modeling and spokesmodeling took off, but most likely dates back to the late 1960’s. In the 1969 book Trade Shows and Exhibits, author Donald Goodale describes hiring “young ladies” to hand out pamphlets and literature at various trade shows. This wasn’t the beginning however. If we look back at an iconic brand like Chanel, the founder, Coco Chanel, realized that using her image associated with her most famous product (Chanel No. 5) went a long way, so long that this product is still a must have.

While the beautiful Gisele Bundchen now has the reins, it is important to note that while the models for this product have changed, Chanel No. 5 is still the same product as it was 60 years ago. This begs the question, would Chanel No. 5 still be around today without the models? Most likely no.

Let’s take a look at Estee Lauder. Karen Graham was initially just a model for a few ads. The response to her advertisements were so effective that Estee Lauder signed her as an official representative of the brand. This is one of the earliest examples of a company using a spokesmodel or “brand ambassador” to generate interest in a product. What happened with Karen Graham? She remained the representative of Estee Lauder from 1970-1985, effectively shaping one of the largest names in beauty products we know today. As of now, Kendall Jenner, the newest face of Estee Lauder has grown the company’s online presence exponentially, but this theme of a brand’s image being cultivated by a model, will continue through the ages.

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