Client: Cutex brand owned by Rimmel-Schicogo
PR Team: In-house and Caroline Eversfield PR
Campaign: Cutex Create-A-Plate
Timescale: 1994 - 1996
Budget: pounds 20,000
With the relaunch of the Cutex brand in 1991, the company brought in
Caroline Eversfield PR to raise its profile among its target market of
professional and older women. MD Caroline Eversfield realised the value
of linking the brand to a charity and at the end of 1993, Cutex chose
the Arthritis and Rheumatism Council for Research (ARC), a medical
research charity. Known as a hand and nail care brand, Cutex felt that
the public perception of arthritis principally affecting the hands made
the association particularly suitable.
To promote the Cutex brand message of caring products and raise funds
for the Arthritis and Rheumatism council for Research (ARC).
Caroline Eversfield, a keen collector of commemorative plates, saw the
possibilities of linking ceramics and nail varnish and thought that
involving celebrities would be a fun and effective way of realising the
At the beginning of 1994, using a mailing list from The Talent
Corporation, 100 ‘Create-A-Plate’ packs were sent out to celebrities.
These consisted of a white ceramic plate, a selection of five or six
nail varnishes and a request to design an original work of art
reflecting the individual’s personality.
Personalities, ranging from Emma Thompson and Richard Gere to Helen
Storey and Richard Branson, eventually responded. However, the project
was then put on hold whilst Cutex launched a new range of cosmetics.
With the arrival of Lorna Sweeney, assistant brand manager at Cutex,
seven months ago, the campaign regained momentum. An exhibition of the
plates was organised with the Art Connoisseur Gallery in London and
invites were sent to Cutex’s customer base and ARC supporters for an
auction on 25 April 1996.
The event was opened by Maureen Lipman and 12 plates were auctioned by
Hugo Swire of Sotheby’s, while the remainder were open to postal bids.
As a spin off, pottery manufacturers Hudson and Middleton produced six
designs - including Jane Asher’s - as beakers, which have retailed at
Boots since January.
Over pounds 7,000 was raised for ARC on the night and postal bids
brought in pounds 12,000.
The Manchester Evening News ran a reader competition matching six
celebrities to six plates, and interest came from the Independent, Marie
Claire, Sky News, the Big Breakfast and the Racing Post, which featured
Lester Piggott’s contribution.
Cutex gained some very positive coverage with quite a lot of celebrity
support for a somewhat off-the-wall campaign. However, Sweeney believes
that there would have been more celebrity interest in the auction, if it
had taken place sooner after the initial contact - lot 52 was a
posthumous offering from Kenny Everett.
According to Bryan Breed, spokesman for ARC, the charity raised pounds
17 million last year and hopes to raise pounds 20 million this year, so
pounds 19,000 would appear to be a drop in the ocean. However, he feels
that the real value to the charity is the impact of the publicity.