Monday, June 18, 2018

Maybelline's digital marketing strategy is a far cry from founder Tom Lyle Williams, early advertising

When my great uncle, Tom Lyle Williams founded the Maybelline Company in 1915, he placed 1 1/2 inch ad in the Classified section of movie magazines, like "Photoplay," or the "Police Gazette".  He also had a radio show called the Maybelline Hour, where he did live shows, often with members of the Maybelline family. Eventually he placed full page, glossy print ads in magazines and was the first cosmetic company to place commercials on television.  Today Maybelline New York, uses digital marketing to focus people talking on their own social networks. However, Maybelline still uses Tom Lyle Williams original strategy of promoting beautiful images in his advertisements,  causing people to talk about it with their friends and family.
Tom Lyle Williams genius in the 1920's through the 1960's was contracting Hollywood's biggest Stars to represent Maybelline. He never used his own face or promoted himself, like every other cosmetic mogul in the industry did.  He did this to protect the Maybelline name and his family from public criticism, because he was gay and had a 50 year relationship with his lifetime partner, Emery Shaver. Today Maybelline's Celebrity partnerships to keep the talk going with their customers. 
For example, Maybelline's collaboration with supermodel Gigi Hadid continues to generate news in fashion media. In addition to being featured in the brand's advertising campaign, Hadid partnered with Maybelline on a makeup collection. The buzzworthy model also devoted her personal Instagram — with 40 million followers  to the new collection bearing her name.
Although Tom Lyle Williams used what ever resources available to him during his lifetime, he never had the opportunity to use the internet or social media in his marketing and advertising campaigns. Today Maybelline New York not only uses Celebrities in their internet and social media marketing and advertising, they also now partner with paid influencers, as well as 
everyday influencers — those friends, family and peers who have large social networks and enjoy sharing their opinions. It ships free product samples to consumers and invites them to share their experiences by posting reviews and product-related content on social platforms.
Just as Maybelline's original founder, Tom Lyle Williams, understood his target markets, Maybelline New York continues to motivate it's customers to spread the word by one on one talking on and offline

My blog post today was inspired by Brad Fay, chief strategy officer at Engagement Labs. read his article at 

Credit: Engagement Labs

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Maybelline Story Video produced by L'Oreal has a few discrepancies, but, gives a fun overview of their history

Mabel Williams, wasn't trying to win over her boyfriend by having beautiful eyes.  Maybelline was first Lash-Brow-Ine in 1915 not 1913 and Tom Lyle was a young entrepreneur, not a chemist.

Mabel Williams, Maybellines namesake.

In the video, the narrator infers that this picture is of Mabel's boyfriend (in the middle) and Mabel Williams.  The boyfriend is actually her father,  Thomas Jefferson Williams and her brother Tom Lyle Williams on the left.  They are standing in front of Tom Lyle's new convertible Paige Detroit, parked in front of the first Maybelline building in 1916.

Read the real story of the birth of Maybelline and the Williams family, in The Maybelline Story and the Spirited Family Dynasty Behind It.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

"It all began with the "eyes." In the book, The Maybelline Story, by Sharrie Williams, she tells the fascinating account of the early beginnings of her family in rural Kentucky, from 1911, to their glory days in Hollywood with Joan Crawford appearing in Maybelline print ads in the late 1940's, to the 1970's as fortune affected the family.

Maybelline Mascara Super Model Joan Crawford taken in 1946.  Photograped by Paul Hesse, Hollywood.

By 1953, the cosmetics company was known throughout the world for their print ads of gorgeous flirty models catching everyone's attention with their Maybelline mascara eyes. Williams' great uncle is Tom Lyle Williams, a marketing genius who built a billion dollar cosmetics empire over many years from just $500. he borrowed from his older brother, Noel.

The Beginning of Maybelline Mascara

Tom Lyle loved movies. As a fifteen-year-old who ran the projector room at the local nickelodeon, he was mesmerized by starlet Mary Pickford's eyes, as she flirted with them in her movie, Sultan's GardenWhat made her so alluring? A very motivated, self-starter, Tom Lyle began finding out ways to make money by figuring out what people wanted.

He left the family farm in Morganfield, Kentucky, when he was still just a teenager, to join his brother, Noel, 23, who was working as a bookkeeper for Illinois Central Railroad in Chicago. The year was 1912. Chicago's population was 1.7 million. The brothers lived in Noel's boarding house near a slum of overcrowded tenement buildings.

It was in this environment that the brothers, driven by Tom Lyle's passionate courage, began a mail-order business. Tom Lyle sacrificed. He invested every penny he could scrape together. By 1914, at the age of 18, he was making serious money with his novelty-catalog business. In 1915, he had asked his sister, Mabel, to join them. He put her to work counting orders. The business was making $36,500. a year, which is the equivalent of over a half a million dollars today.

Mabel's Accident Births a Maybelline Mascara Fortune

Tom Lyle's sister insisted on cooking for her brothers. While Mabel was making cake frosting one morning by melting sugar in a pan, the liquid got too hot. Flames shot up and singed Mabel's eyebrows and eyelashes. She looked like a bare-faced mannequin. But, Mabel was not deterred, either. She had been secretly reading movie star magazines. She had read that these starlets, like Gloria Swanson, used a concoction called, "harem secret," to make their eyes beautiful.

Mabel mixed ash from cork she burned, with coal dust, and blended this mixture by using petroleum jelly. She dabbed this goo onto her eyebrows and the tips of her eyelashes. The transformation was amazing. Mabel's eyes were stunning. Then, an idea struck Tom Lyle like a bolt of lightening. Of course, it wasn't the clothes or smiles that made Hollywood goddesses glamorous. It was their "eyes." Mascara was born. The name Maybelline came from Mabel and the Vaseline mixture.

Miss Maybelline and Mascara's Destiny

By the time the 1920's came roaring into Chicago, women had claimed the right to vote, hold hands with men in public, smoke cigarettes, and a whole lot more. They took full advantage of their new-found freedom. Tom Lyle's entire family was in Chicago at this time, helping in the business of making Maybelline mascara. Tom Lyle's younger brother, Preston, incredibly handsome, a WWI hero, was watching a Memorial Day Parade when he and Evelyn Boecher spotted each other. Evelyn also spotted Tom Lyle.

"She fell in love with both brothers on the same day," says Sharrie Williams, of her grandmother, Evelyn Boucher. Evelyn was one of three daughters of John Boucher, a wealthy plumber, who spoiled his girls rotten. Always dressed in fine clothes, refined by music lessons, Evelyn, Bunny and Verona defined elegance. It was Evelyn, however, who became Tom Lyle's muse, and helped catapult Maybelline into the mascara cosmetics market. Sharrie relates in her book, The Maybelline Story: "Destiny arrived right on time, in the form of Evelyn Boucher."

Miss Maybelline Stops Traffic

Evelyn married Preston, but she continued to be the eyes and ears for Tom Lyle when it came to women and what they wanted. She contributed many ideas for the Maybelline mascara ads that put the company on the map around the world.

"Nana had very good insight, " says Sharrie. "She was an observer, a people-watcher. She loved to go to public places. She'd watch what women were wearing, what they talked about, laughed about. She would take it all in, then she would be able to condense this information and tell Tom Lyle. They would have dinner together and she would let him know - this is what women are looking for. This is what they want."

One day, Tom Lyle asked Evelyn to pick up some flyers from the printers, that he was going to mail to dime stores around the country. This was the time when Al Capone and other gangsters practically owned Chicago. Drive-by shootings and loud-mouthed gangsters were part of the city's fabric. Clutching an arm-load of flyers, Evelyn was almost to the Maybelline building when a car backfired. Everybody ducked, thinking it was gunshot. Evelyn jumped and threw her arms into the air, releasing the flyers, which were picked up by the wind.

An astute newspaper reporter snapped her photo. The next day, the newspaper printed Evelyn's photo with this title: "Miss Maybelline Stops Traffic." Orders for Maybelline mascara came pouring in. As Sharrie recalls, in her book, The Maybelline Story: "My uncle said to Nana: ' Evelyn, with that one photo you've accomplished more for marketing Maybelline than any flyer ever could."

Copyright Anne Mount. Contact the author to obtain permission for republication.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Memorial Day Celebrating and honoring Maybelline family Men who served in the Armed Forces in WW1 and WW11

My grandfather, William Preston Williams, with his parents Susan and TJ. TJ was  proud his son was fighting for his Country like so many Patriots that went before him in the Williams Family.

Maybelline's namesake, Mabel Williams on the left with her brother Willliam Preston Williams, Helen, Frances Allen Williams, Bennie Gibbs and Tom Lyle Williams in front of his new "PAGE "Convertible in Chicago. 

Maybelline Ad during WW11, promoting War Bonds

My father, Bill Williams, in the Philippines 

                        Maybelline Ad during WWll.

My Father's first cousin, Noel A. Williams,  joined the Navy right out of High School.

            Noel A. in his Navy uniform during WWll.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

The Maybelline Story gives the reader heroes to cheer for and bad guys to worry about.

  Sharrie Williams, author of the Maybelline Story has written a really wonderful book!  Its an amazing story of once upon a time in America, where great desire, ambition and dreams overcome great adversity and obstacles. There is spirit, triumph mixed with tragedy as a company grows from nothing to world prominence in its industry. Written in an engaging, personal way so that as you read it, you are drawn in, and feel like you are right there with the family. 

       Maybelline (both the products and the story) interacted and evolved through the major cultural and  dynamic historic events in American history and deeply it impacted everything from legendary Hollywood movie stars to every day working people's lives throughout so many generations. And there is an eternal verity that comes through as a constant theme: when you make a woman feel beautiful, there is a profound effect on everyone around her. 

 Sharrie tells the story in a compelling way that makes it come alive, and also creates new stories that grow naturally from the main one."  
Larry Crandell, Santa Barbara California.

on January 15, 2018
Absolutely fascinating story of the 
creation and growth of a new product
 category by the family behind
 It has everything from family politics, 
old Hollywood glamour and the
 beginnings of brand development.
 I can see a very successful mini series
 or major motion picture based on this
 absorbing book filled with fabulous

on January 1, 2018
Found this a fascinating story of love,
 greed, infidelity, and perseverance in 
building a brand at times against all
 odds. The family dynamics were
 fraught with jealousy, but the family
 eventually came through for each other. 
Couldn't put the book down.
Roche Maisel

on December 16,
Americana, story behind the products,
 image, image, image. be careful what
 you wish form you might get it,
fascinating story

on April 2, 2018
Our most recent book club selection. 
Interesting and entertaining.


on March 15, 2018
Very interesting history of Maybelline 
products. Had no idea how the product
 was developed