Guide to the Cover Girl Advertising Oral History Documentation Project
Digitized Content

Summary
Collection ID:
NMAH.AC.0374
Creators:
Bunting, George L., Jr.
Brinkley, Christie
Ellsworth, Scott, Dr.
Colonel, Sheri
Giordano, Lynn
Ford, Eileen
Hall, L. C. "Bates"
Grathwohl, Geraldine
Huebner, Dick
Harrison, Fran
Lindsay, Robert
Hunt, William D.
McIver, Karen
MacDougall, Malcolm
Noble, Stan
Nash, Helen
Noxell Corporation.
Bergin, John
O'Neill, Jennifer
Oelbaum, Carol
Pelligrino, Nick
Poris, George
Roberts, F. Stone
Tiegs, Cheryl
Troup, Peter
Weithas, Art
Witt, Norbert
Dates:
1959-1990
Languages:
English
Collection is in English.
Physical Description:
15.5 Cubic feet
30 boxes
Repository:
The Cover Girl Make-Up Advertising Oral History and Documentation Project, 1923-1991, is the result of a year-long study in 1990, which examined the advertising created for Noxell Corporation's Cover Girl make-up products from 1959 to 1990. The objective of the project was to document, in print and electronic media, the history of Cover Girl make-up advertising since its inception in 1959.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
Twenty-two oral history interviews (conducted by Dr. Scott Ellsworth for the Archives Center) and a variety of print and television advertisements, photographs, scrapbooks, personal papers, business records and related materials were gathered by the Center for Advertising History staff. The objective was to create a collection that provides documentation, in print and electronic media, of the history and development of advertising for Cover Girl make-up since its inception in 1959.
Collection also includes earlier material related to other Noxell products, including Noxzema, with no direct connection to the Cover Girl campaign.

Arrangement
Arrangement
The collection is arranged into eight series.
Series 1: Research Files
Series 2: Interviewee Files
Series 3: Oral History Interviews
Series 4: Television Advertising Materials
Series 5: Print Advertising Materials
Series 6: Company Publications and Promotional Literature
Series 7: Photographs
Series 8: Scrapbooks

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
George Avery Bunting founded the Noxzema Chemical Company in Baltimore, Maryland in 1917. In the 1890s, he left behind a teaching job on Maryland's Eastern shore to move to Baltimore, where he hoped to pursue a career as a pharmacist. He landed a job as errand boy and soda jerk at a local drugstore, where he worked while attending classes at the University Of Maryland College of Pharmacy. Valedictorian of the Class of 1899, Bunting was promoted to manager of the drugstore, which he purchased. Bunting began to experiment with the formulation of medicated pastes and compounds, which he marketed to his customers. In 1909, he began refining a medicated vanishing cream, which he introduced in 1914. "Dr. Bunting's Sunburn Remedy," an aromatic skin cream containing clove oil, eucalyptus oil, lime water, menthol and camphor, was mixed by hand at his pharmacy. Marketed locally as a greaseless, medicated cream for the treatment of a variety of skin conditions, including sunburn, eczema, and acne, the product was renamed "Noxzema" for its reputed ability to "knock eczema." By 1917, the Noxzema Chemical Company was formed. During the 1920s, distribution of the product was expanded to include New York, Chicago, and the Midwest and, by 1926, the first Noxzema manufactory was built in northwest Baltimore to accommodate the demand for nearly a million jars a year.
Having achieved a national market by 1938, Noxzema Chemical Company executives pursued product diversification as a means to maintain the corporate growth of the early years. In the 1930s and 1940s, line extensions included shaving cream, suntan lotion and cold cream, all with the distinctive "medicated" Noxzema aroma.
In the late 1950s, Bill Hunt, director of product development at Noxzema, suggested a line extension into medicated make-up. Creatives at Sullivan, Stauffer, Colwell & Bayles, Incorporated (SSC&B), Noxzema's advertising agency since 1946, suggested that the advertising for the new product focus on beauty and glamour with some reference to the medicated claims made for other Noxzema products. In contrast to other cosmetics, which were sold at specialized department store counters, Noxzema's medicated make-up would be marketed alongside other Noxzema products in grocery stores and other mass distribution outlets. After experimenting with names that suggested both glamour and the medicated claims (including Thera-Blem and Blema-Glow), Bill Grathwohl, Noxell's advertising director, selected Carolyn Oelbaum's "Cover Girl," which conveyed the product's usefulness as a blemish cover-up, while invoking the glamorous image of fashion models. These three elements of the advertising, wholesome glamour, mass marketing, and medicated make-up, remain central to Cover Girl advertising nearly a half-century later.
Beginning with the national launch in 1961, American and international fashion models were featured in the ads. The target audience was identified as women between eighteen and fifty-four and, initially, the "glamour" ads were targeted at women's magazines, while the "medicated" claims were reserved for teen magazines. Television ads featured both elements. Cover Girl advertising always featured beautiful women -- especially Caucasian women, but the Cover Girl image has evolved over time to conform to changing notions of beauty. In the late 1950s and 1960s, the Cover Girl was refined and aloof, a fashion conscious sophisticate. By the 1970s, a new social emphasis on looking and dressing "naturally" and the introduction of the "Clean Make-up" campaign created a new advertising focus on the wholesome glamour of the "girl next door," a blue-eyed, blonde all-American image. In the 1980s, the Cover Girl look was updated to include African-American, Hispanic and working women.
In January 1970, SSC&B bought 49% of the Lintas Worldwide advertising network. After SSC&B was acquired by the Interpublic Group of Companies in 1979, the entire Lintas operation was consolidated under the name SSC&B/Lintas in 1981. With the Procter & Gamble buy-out of the Noxell Corporation in September 1989, the cosmetics account was moved to long-time P&G agency Grey Advertising, in order to circumvent a possible conflict of interest between P&G competitor Unilever, another Lintas account. In 1989 SSC&B/Lintas, Cover Girl's agency since its launch in 1961, lost the account it helped to create and define, but the brand continues to dominate mass-marketed cosmetics.
This project is the result of a year-long study of advertising created for the Noxell Corporation's Cover Girl make-up products, 1959-1990. The effort was supported in part by a grant from the Noxell Corporation. The target audience was identified as women 18-54, and initially, the "glamour" ads were targeted at women's magazines, while the "medicated" claims were reserved for teen magazines. Television ads featured both elements. Cover Girl advertising has always featured beautiful women (especially Caucasian women), but the Cover Girl image evolved over time to conform with changing notions of beauty. In the late 1950s-1960s, the Cover Girl was refined and aloof, a fashion conscious sophisticate. By the 1970s, a new social emphasis on looking and dressing "naturally" and the introduction of the "Clean Make-up" campaign created a new advertising focus on the wholesome glamour of the "girl next door," a blue-eyed, blonde all-American image. Through the 1980s, the Cover Girl look was updated to include African-American and Hispanic models and images of women at work.

Administration
Separated Materials
The Division of Home and Community Life, Costume Collection holds eighty-six cosmetic items and one computer that were also donated by the Noxell Corporation in 1990 in conjunction with the oral history project. These artifacts include lipstick, manicure sets, brushes, make-up, eye shadow, blush, powder puffs, eyelash curler, nail polish, and mascara. See accession number 1990.0193.
Processing Information
Processed by Mimi Minnick, archivist, 1990; revised by Vanessa Broussard Simmons, archivist, 2007.
Author
Mimi L. Minnick
Sponsor
The project was supported in part by a gift from the Noxell Corporation.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Most of the materials in the collection were donated to the Center for Advertising History by the Noxell Corporation, 1990. All storyboards and videoscripts, and a large collection of business records and proofsheets were donated by George Poris in June 1990. All mechanicals were donated by Art Weithas in June 1990. (These contributions are noted in the finding aid).

Using the Collection
Preferred Citation
Cover Girl Advertising Oral History & Documentation Project, 1959-1990, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
Conditions Governing Use
Copyright and trademark restrictions.
Conditions Governing Access
Collection is open for research. Researchers must handle unprotected photographs with gloves. Researchers must use reference copies of audio-visual materials. When no reference copy exists, the Archives Center staff will produce reference copies on an "as needed" basis, as resources allow.

Related Materials
Materials in the Archives Center
Warshaw Collection of Business Americana (AC0060)
N W Ayer Advertising Agency Records (AC0059)

Custodial History
Custodial History
As part of a continuing program to document and study modern advertising, the Center for Advertising History selected Cover Girl advertising as the sixth in a series of case studies of significant American advertising campaigns. This decision was based on the Noxell Corporation's role in developing mass-produced and mass-marketed cosmetic products.
One aim of the project was to document the decision-making process involved in the creation of a successful campaign. Topics addressed include the applications of focus groups and market research as the industry struggled to adapt to changing roles and expectations for women between 1959 and 1990; the relations of the advertising to overall marketing strategy; and the nature of the creative process in producing effective advertising images.
Twenty-two oral history interviews were conducted in 1990-1991by the Center's chief historian, Dr. Scott Ellsworth. In addition to the oral history interviews, a variety of print and television advertisements, story boards and television scripts, photographs, scrapbooks, personal papers, business records and other documentary materials were gathered by the Center for Advertising History staff. The majority of the materials found in the collection were donated to the Center for Advertising History by the Noxell Corporation during 1990. All storyboards and television scripts, and a large collection of business records and proofsheets, were donated by George Poris in June 1990. All mechanicals were donated by Art Weithas in June 1990.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Interviews -- 1950-2000 Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Women in advertising Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
advertising -- 1930-1940 -- California Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Business records -- 20th century Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Cosmetics -- advertising Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Endorsements in advertising Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Hunt Valley (Maryland) Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Baltimore (Md.) Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Audiotapes Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Bumper stickers Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Beauty culture Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
advertising -- 1950-2000 Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Annual reports Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
African American women -- Beauty culture Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Oral history -- 1990-2000 Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Photographs -- Black-and-white photoprints -- Silver gelatin -- 1950-2000 Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Maryland Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Modelling -- 1950-1990 Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sex role in advertising Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Press releases Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Radio advertising Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Scrapbooks -- 20th century Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Television scripts Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Videotapes Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Tear sheets Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Television advertising Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Noxzema Chemical Company Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
P.O. Box 37012
Suite 1100, MRC 601
Washington, D.C. 20013-7012
archivescenter@si.edu
http://americanhistory.si.edu/archives