There’s no such thing as ‘going too far’ in today’s society. Once taboo topics are now regular fodder for primetime sitcoms, dramas and the assorted CSI shows.
And, when it comes to the marketing of consumer products, sex is becoming more and more mainstream as Levitra, Cialis and various other pills, lotions and god knows what else compete for the almighty dollar.
As a jaded, cynical and world weary consumer (at times), I thought I’d seen it all. But, then along came Betty. "Betty Beauty" to be exact, which bills itself as ‘color for the hair down there.’ Yes, that hair down there.
The branchild of Nancy Jarecki, Betty Beauty is generating quite the buzz, attracting some 2 million web visitors on an annual basis, well ahead of other "hair coloring" products such as Clairol.
Betty Beauty comes in a wide range of colors: auburn, black, blonde, brown and, of course, ‘fun,’ which is hot pink. Ms. Jarecki says she came up with the ‘down under’ hair color concept when she visited a Rome hair salon and saw a colorist discreetly slip a hair color packet in a departing customer’s purse (after asking the colorist "what up?," Jarecki was told the packet contained coloring "to match down there"). And that, my friends, is when this particular entrepreneur’s eureka moment occurred. She asked herself the age-old, rhetorical question: "…Who wouldn’t want to be a true blond?" and, voila, we have the birth of Betty Beauty.
With Betty’s arrival, another product and marketing barrier has been broken. And the world, I’m sure, is the better for it. But I, for one, shudder to think what sort of line extensions Betty Beauty might have in the wings. If nothing else, they have to be thinking of strategic partnerships with, say, The Playboy Channel, Cosmopolitan, Victoria’s Secret and god knows who else.
In stepping back and thinking about the image and reputation implications of Betty Beauty, I wondered what the Founding Fathers (or their wives for that matter) would think of the free-market society they created that has spawned a product as bizarre as Betty Beauty. Ya gotta believe the old boys would see it as nothing less than revolutionary. And, talk about the spirit of ’76! Betty Beauty has my vote for the spirit of ’06. And ’07. And 08.