THE NO NONSENSE AMERICAN WOMEN AWARD.
The No nonsense brand was known, all too well, as functional, utilitarian legwear. They needed a makeover to stop declining share for a product women found so lackluster. There wasn’t a chance in hell to get any famous celeb to associate her name with the brand.
So I created The No nonsense American Woman Award, given each month to a powerhouse celebrity, announced in print ads in leading women’s magazines. PR whirlwind Roberta Greene and I struggled to get a celeb to jump-start the campaign, but the superstars we were after were used to getting a cool million to hawk a product, and our offer was a measly $5,000 to their favorite charity. But we hit pay dirt with Governor Ann Richards of Texas. The beautiful, white-coiffured dynamo gave a press conference in Austin where she flashed a shapely No nonsense-garbed leg, declaring herself to be proud to be named the very first No nonsense American Woman. In response to a skeptical reporter, the governor belted out in her Texas drawl: “Do I wear No nonsense pantyhose? Shoot! Check’em out, darlin’.” The TV cameras rolled and our kickoff was shown all over America.
In short order the biggies lined up to be seen in my version of No nonsense “testimonial” ads: Barbra Streisand! Tina Turner! Faye Dunaway! Jackie Joyner-Kersee! Elizabeth Taylor! Gloria Steinem! Barbara Bush! Oprah Winfrey! Liza Minnelli! Rosalyn Carter! and even the head of Covenant House, Sister Mary Rose McGeady, who delicately lifted her habit in response to a doubting reporter. (And Supreme Court justice Ruth Ginsberg wrote us, disappointed that she was not allowed by federal law to be in an advertisement!) No nonsense was instantly repositioned as a fresh, fashionable brand that talked sense to the American woman of the ’90s.