Hello Frustration

The New York Times reports on a new campaign for Avon, the largest in its 121-year history.
But here’s the part of the article that gets me:

The campaign, now getting under way, carries the upbeat theme “Hello tomorrow.” The ads are the first work from a new Avon creative agency, Soho Square in New York, part of the WPP Group, which has been developing the campaign since September 2005.
“It was a journey in getting there,” said Elizabeth Smith, executive vice president at Avon Products in New York, who is president for Avon North American and global marketing.

So we’re talking about an ad campapign that took 18 MONTHS to get developed. What took so long? Who has that kind of time anymore? Even if you factor in everything from initial research focus groups to copy testing and production, there’s no ad campaign that could possibly be worth taking that much time to develop.
Or is there? Can anyone top 18 months working to develop one major campaign?

About Dan Goldgeier

Blogging on AdPulp since 2005, Dan Goldgeier is a Seattle-based freelance copywriter with experience at advertising agencies across the U.S. He is a graduate of the Creative Circus ad school, and currently teaches at Seattle's School of Visual Concepts. In addition, he is a regular columnist for TalentZoo.com. Dan published the best of his TalentZoo.com columns in a book entitled View From The Cheap Seats: A Broader Look at Advertising, Marketing, Branding, Global Politics, Office Politics, Sexual Politics, and Getting Drunk During a Job Interview. Look for it on Amazon in paperback and e-book editions.


  1. And the result . . . hello tomorrow? and the same tired cosmetic visuals?

  2. That’s a long, long time. The closest I can relate it to is when I was at Hill Holliday. John Hancock used to give the creative team 6 full months to develop concepts. That’s after initial brand research, and before testing.
    I’m lucky to get a week to work on a campaign these days. In fact, a week would be welcome.

  3. daveednyc says:

    Longest for me was 6 months for a luxury resort. But that was for the whole enchilada: logo, indentity, naming, print/radio ads, sales collateral, website.
    But 18 months just for Avon’s ADS? Jeez louise. That just reeks of horrible, ill-conceived strategy (-ies), focus group malaise, and brand management turnover. Maybe that was the “beauty and cosmetics” client behind the dozens of freelance job notices I’ve been seeing for at least a year.

  4. in the spring of 2004 i spent a weekend writing a brochure for flooring that was a “super-rush” job.
    As of January 2006 when i left the agency, the client had yet to give final approval on photography or art direction

  5. Ciaran McCabe says:

    Did anyone, during those 18 months, ask the question:
    What does it mean?

  6. We have SOHO SQUARE where I work. They’re very methodical. Very strategic. Very mediocre. Very overpaid.
    Goodbye Avon.

  7. Erin Markland says:

    Avon’s new advertising campaign is a GLOBAL campaign. And since “The Company for Women” spans over 130 different countries across the globe, I’m sure it must have taken a good chunk of time to finalize plans and agree upon a united campaign that would be accepted in most, if not every, culture and country. Whatever advertising we see here in the States is the same advertising – print, TV, radio and otherwise – that is shown around the world.
    In fact, Avon is one of the first companies to launch an ad campaign on such a scale. And in addition, they introduced the new advertising on National Women’s Day – a time to empower women and recognize their rights and achievements across the globe.
    Avon should be receiving applause for such a gutsy, bold, and empowering campaign.
    And in regards to “what does it mean?”… Avon has hope in the future for women around the globe. It’s a way of asking ourselves, “What are we doing today that will help us tomorrow?” If that doesn’t strick a chord in you, then I don’t know what will.
    — Erin Markland —

  8. If you have not tried AVON Lately – you really should! Visit my website today or drop me an email.
    Check out our “Anew Clinical” line of ANTI-AGING products. Send me your address and I will send you FREE samples, and brochure, of “ANEW THERMAFIRM” face lifting cream. When put to the test in Jan 07 on “The Early Show” against a number of other skin care products, participants reported disappointing results with them all except for the Avon “ANEW THERMAFIRM” I can give you more details on that later…
    Also, AVON is the #1 Direct Marketing Business in the US. Have you considered owning a business you can operate in your spare time from home. You can with AVON for a $10 sign up fee.
    Don’t miss this opportunity-
    : ) VALERIE

  9. Wow, look at Avon go. Makeup meets social media. Could be big.

  10. Nadieh Babaie says:

    Let me just say, I have enjoyed using Avon products as a customer and now proud to be an Avon representative. I wish all the best for this company, so I can still be part of it.

  11. Right on Erin Markland and Valerie Robinson! How anyone can comment on this advertising campaign without knowing the depth and scope of Avon is beyond me! I think apologies are due to Avon, The Company for Women and to all the many Representatives across the GLOBE….we’ll take that apology in any one of 130 different languages please! Sharon Messier, Proud to be an Independent Avon Representative, Emmaus PA

  12. Sharon,
    We comment on advertising here. Let me assure you that 18 months from ideation to the marketplace is a painful process for those involved on the agency side. That’s it. No one’s saying Avon isn’t a great company to work. And we’re not denigrating Avon’s product. In fact, it works great for keeping flying insects off my exposed skin.
    Happy selling!

  13. Wow. How many times have I heard agencies complain that the client doesn’t give them enough time…there’s no strategy. How many clients have rushed to get something out there and two years later are still trying to get it right, probably because the strategy wasn’t right in the first place. For those early commentators take half an hour and goole AVON. It is a gob smacking company and I am not an AVON representative, nor do I buy AVON product – yet. This is a company every human being can be proud of.
    Like scent and sound AVON whafts, circulates and meanders across countries, continents, cultures and class; aligning themselves with a the world of ‘dreams’, where anything is possbile.
    This is why they are 120 years old. They have authentically committed to empowering woman, allowing them not only to dream but create better futures and all because a 28 year old man paid attention in 1887.
    What could honour AVON more than ‘Hello Tomorrow’ as their first global campaign? Awesome!
    With gratitude
    Louise Eckersley