Creepily Boring Yardley of London Ads From 1974

Finnfemme: Yardley of London Sigh Shadow ad, 1974There was no doubt that Yardley of London cosmetics was in its last gasp by 1974. All you need to do is look at what they were offering as advertising, which was a long slide from their romantic/mod heyday of a few years previous. This 1974 ad is for Sigh Shadow. And it’s totally bizarre.  It is comparing the cost and quality of their $2.00 eye shadow to the $4.00 eye shadow by Elizabeth Arden. Not a fan of the HUGE face pic of the model either. It’s downright weird.

Finnfemme: Yardley of London Daylight Encounter cologne ad, 1974This ad is for Yardley’s Daylight Encounter cologne. Never heard of Daylight Encounter? Well, neither had I. Could it be that this is probably the most boring ad on the planet, and no one paid it any mind? It looks like Yardley was trying to appeal to the ‘working girl’, with a scent that was supposed to be a very sunny, light, and ‘female’ scent (whatever that means). The stalker boss guy in the ad leering at his secretary is pretty creepy. Er, personal space please; I’m talking on the phone.  Needless to say, it doesn’t appear that Daylight Encounter was much of a hit in the world of scent.


3 Responses to “Creepily Boring Yardley of London Ads From 1974”

  1. EmilyAnn Frances May

    I think the ads came out at a time in which the role of women were in transition. Working full-time in an office was changing from being looked at as a “job” to a “career”. Women had to tone down their sexuality and be more business-like in manner and appearance. That might be a reason why the ad was toned down in comparison to the flowery language of the Mod Era ads. I honestly think advertisers weren’t sure of their market yet.

  2. Thom Smith

    By 1974 Yardley had been bought by SmithKline-Beecham. What they were thinking of I’ll never know, but it was their lack of expertise and experience in running a cosmetics company that drove Yardley into the ground. Not just with ads like this, which I agree is a boring, ridiculous ad, but at this time they also changed the packaging, going from department style packaging where the products came in their own little boxes, to scratch packs that hang on racks in pharmacies, like the cheap lines like Cover Girl. Over night all the department stores dropped it, and they lost 90 percent of their market shares, with the products on the wall at KMart. Women who bought it in department stores do not shop at KMart, and simply assumed the company went out of business, and went to other lines.

    I can remember seeing how the liquid makeup use to evaporate in the bottle because the lids weren’t screwed on tight enough. No wonder it didn’t sell anymore. A sad end for Yardley.

    In about late 1976, they tried to give Yardley a comeback, and had a great advertising campaign with the line Yardley, it becomes you. The concept was a women is happy being herself, not attempting to copy someone elses look, and Yardley lets her own beauty show through. The campaign was great, but before it had a chance to take off, Yardley was bought by Jovan who discontinued the ads and what was left of the cosmetics line. The company has been out of colour cosmetics since that time. Yardley is still alive and well, especially in Europe, where they are adding a lot of new products, and moving the company in the right direction. Right now they are only concentrating on fragrances and body lotions. Cosmetics may come later, but don’t expect to see any of the old products revived. Yardley went through a succession of owners over the years who raped the company, and most of their famous trademarks were sold off. I would doubt if we’ll ever see Pot O’ Gloss, Slicker, Skipper, Glimmerick and the others ever again, or see that famous packaging again either. Remember “from Yardley, of course”, well I don’t think we’ll ever be hearing that in any of their ads.

  3. finnfemme

    Thank you for your insightful post, Thom!

    It was very sad to see the demise of Yardley of London cosmetics, but like you say a number of things contributed to its failure. What’s also interesting is that Patsy Sullivan, former Yardley model from 1968-72, said that there was a big Yardley scandal in the 70s with 2 married advertising team members having an affair. This led to them being fired. Of course they were the creative team who developed the fabulous mod, romantic Yardley ads of the late 60s to early 70s, and the ads started going downhill after that.

    I do follow the new Yardley London on Facebook, and am encouraged with the direction the new company is taking. They have a fresh, flowery, English look and it’s nice to see the company reach back to some of the more successful ad campaigns.


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