Avon, the oldest cosmetics company in the United States and the world’s largest direct seller, received a much needed boost with Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Andrea Jung, at the helm (Creed and Laichas). Andrea became the company’s first female CEO in 1994, marking the beginning of a brand turnaround (“Avon Products, Inc.”). From its humble beginning to becoming the cosmetic giant that it is now, Avon has had a number of trials and bounce backs. It’s most recent success, the Hello Tomorrow global campaign was launched in response to lacking sales in 2005 (Elliott). The campaign goal was to restructure the company, reinvest in the brand as well as the sales representatives, all while spreading the word that Avon understands and empowers women all over the globe (Creed and Laichas, Elliott).
Avon, originally named the California Perfume Company, was born in the 1880s, when David H. McConnell, a door-to-door book salesman, began to offer small bottles of perfume to the women who would allow him to come into their homes and talk about his books. It did not take him long to figure out that the women were more interested in the perfume than they were the books he was selling. Taking a leap of faith, Mr. McConnell stopped selling books completely to focus on the perfumes. Working from home in New York City, he brewed five different scents which he named the “Little Dot Perfume Set,” consisting of heliotrope, hyacinth, lily of the valley, violet, and white rose. He intended to sell the perfumes directly to customers utilizing all of the contacts he had made during his time as a traveling door-to-door salesman (“Avon Products, Inc.”). The first Avon Lady he recruited was the wife of a U.S. senator, Mrs. P.F.E. Albee, of Winchester, New Hampshire. Mrs. Albee was able to recruit and train a sales team of one hundred within the first six months. That number continued to climb steady, to over five thousand after twelve years. The company, excited about the growth, wasted little time in offering new scents to the perfumes along with other products. Ten years after the company’s beginning the first catalog was made, complete with illustrations, and a new production facility was built in Suffern, New York. This is also when the first products bearing the Avon name were released. Mr. McConnell was inspired by the landscape around their new facility, stating it reminded him of William Shakespeare’s home of Stratford-on-Avon, England. This product line consisted of cleanser, a toothbrush, and a vanity set (“Avon Products, Inc.”). Avon’s sales suffered during the Depression and World War II, however after the war more women began to look for ways of making money that would not interrupt there family life, quadrupling the sales force. In 1954, Avon launched its first television advertisements with the famous, “Ding Dong, Avon Calling,” slogan. They also jumped into the Latin American market by opening up offices in Puerto Rico and Venezuela. Three years later in 1957, the first office in the United Kingdom was opened with the name, Avon Cosmetics, Ltd. (“Avon Products, Inc.”) Today, Avon is sold via direct sales by over five million independent sales representatives in one hundred forty three countries, to nearly three hundred million customers (Avon Products, Inc SWOT Analysis 2008). The year 2005 was described by Business Week magazine as a year of collapse for Avon, with the United States, Mexico, as well as Central and Eastern Europe sales less than expected. CEO Andrea Jung stated that it was a tough year, but one that she would learn from. She learned a lot about both herself and the business. Publically making these statements were seen by many to be on of her defining moments, she practiced humility, which is one of Avon’s founding principles. The Hello Tomorrow campaign was a long time in the making, one that required changes not only in their marketing strategy, but also in the entire company’s way of...
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