Fire and Ice
In the autumn of 1952, Revlon launched Fire and Ice, widely considered one of the most iconic and groundbreaking beauty campaigns. It was unique in that it sold lipstick and nail polish not just as luxury products but sexy luxury products. Created by female copywriter Kay Daly, the two-page ad featured a glamorous photo by Richard Avedon along with an eleven-question quiz to discover if the reader was a Fire and Ice girl (defined as easily the most exciting woman in the world), an interesting selling tactic that equated your makeup with your (desirable) personality, and which clearly paid off.
In line with Charles Revson’s radical, fearless attitude, Revlon was the first beauty brand to embrace TV advertising. From 1955 until 1958, they sponsored The $64,000 Question game show, running three spectacular one-minute ads per week, which were broadcast live. Sales increased dramatically, with many products selling out. Despite a scandal over possible rigging of the game show, and Revlon’s involvement in this, the company sped light-years ahead of its competitors.
Revson was diagnosed with cancer in the early 1970s. One of the last decisions he made at Revlon was in 1973 to hire Lauren Hutton for a huge and unheard-of yearly sum.26 Charles Revson died in 1975 from pancreatic cancer at the age of sixty-eight. Though it continues to have a strong presence, Revlon is no longer in direct competition with luxury brands and is sold exclusively in drugstores today.
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