If you were around in the 80s, you remember this line.
Kelley LeBrock, coming off her Weird Science fame, looked at the camera and said one of the most audacious opening lines ever featured in an ad:
“Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful”
The actress thought the line was such a ridiculous, egotistical thing to say that she very nearly left the audition without recording it.
“I used to be so insecure and self-conscious that if anybody even looked at me, I’d go red. So even though it was obviously tongue-in-cheek, it was really difficult to say ‘Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful.”
– Kelly LeBrock
And, thanks to that line, the ad went viral before the term “going viral” even existed.
If you’ve never seen it before, here’s the first ad in the campaign:
And, trust me, that line became an instant inside joke for women at the time, who’d giggle while saying it to each other.
LeBrock said strangers would even shout it out to her on the street. She called it: “The line that brought people out of their shells.”
But here’s what you don’t know about those ads…
Procter & Gamble’s First Billion Dollar Hair-Care Brand
Procter and Gamble bought Pantene in 1985 and launched those ads in ’86 with the goal of turning it into an international mega-brand.
And those ads helped Pantene become P&G’s first billion dollar brand in the hair care industry by the mid-90s.
In other words, “Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful” wasn’t just a pop-culture phenomenon; those ads kicked serious butt in business terms — boosting sales and grabbing increased market share — even fueling growth during the recession in 1990.
So was that success all due to that one, legendary line?
Don’t Hate Me Because I’m Persuasive — Studying the Magic In The Rest of the Ad
Hard to say. I think quite a bit of was. Without that attention-grabbing line, no one would have paid attention to the ads.
So the brand wouldn’t have wormed its way into people’s heads. High-Impact messaging makes a huge difference.
But once that line did its work, the rest of those ads masterfully capitalized on the viewers’ attention, moving the audience from awareness to interest to desire.
An audacious opener is great and all, but you have to transition into persuasion after that or you’re sunk.
That’s why the second line in those ads was something along the lines of:
“My hair used to be a joke” or “My hair used to be hopeless”
This allows the ad to become a quasi before-and-after transformation demo.
A classic “slice of life” endorsement if ever there was one.
All ending on the closing promise of: “It won’t happen overnight, but it will happen — you’ll see!”
What’s In Your
Wallet Branding Campaign?
Do your ads open big?
You don’t have to be quite as audacious as “Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful,” but that first line should grab attention.
For example, try this ad’s opener on for size:
And does your messaging move people from Awareness down to Preference in the sales funnel?
‘Cause getting your name out is one thing. But getting people to think of you first and feel the best about you is everything.
If your branding campaign passes that checklist — congrats! Your business has a bright future ahead of it.
If it doesn’t, let’s work together to change that.