A cliché is another word for a phrase that has become so popular and overused that it has lost its effectiveness. Few clichés are as well worn as “blondes have more fun.” Not being a blonde, I can’t say whether or not there is any veracity to the claim, but I can try to figure out who coined it.
Some might think that history’s most famous blonde, Marilyn Monroe, first said it. Not so. Near as I can tell, the sentiment was part of an advertising campaign for Clairol hair products back in the 1950s. Copywriter Shirley Polykoff, one of the all-time great ad execs, used the tagline “Do blondes really have more fun?”.
The actual phrase she used was “Is it true that blondes have more fun?.” The question-like phrasing (“Is it true…”) makes me believe that the expression was already around before the ad campaign. However, I was unable to find anyone else who might have said it first. So, Ms. Polykoff, a blonde by the way, gets the credit here.
Ms. Polykoff, who died in 1988, is one of only five women in the Advertising Hall of Fame. You might recognize another of her famous campaigns, also for Clairol hair dye: “Does she or doesn’t she? Only her hairdresser knows for sure.” According to a blog, Undercover Blonde, the campaign had a huge effect. Before it hit, just 7% of women dyed their hair. After it came out, 40% of women did.
Was this the most successful ad campaign ever? Is there anyway of knowing what was? Maybe “Just Do It”? What about “Got milk?” What do you think? Got any URLs to back up your opinions? For the record, AdAge says the title belongs to Volkswagen. Disagree? Go ahead and leave a comment below.
Thanks for reading,
If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!