October 23, 2008
Determining the Target Market for Sapphic Brand Naming
The launch of the Sappho Cosmetics brand appears to target a lesbian audience.
There are clearly strong and obvious connotations with the word "Sappho," which of course hearkens back to the famous poet from the isle of Lesbos and the origins of the word lesbian. An island girl on the company's web site, along with a company description that suggests that Sappho Cosmetics is "all about making up fearlessly," only strengthens this Lesbos association.
Some bloggers believe that despite these obvious references, the cosmetics are not marketed as a "lesbian make-up line." Supporting this argument may be tough when you consider that JoAnn Fowler is the founder of the company and the make-up artist for the popular TV show The L Word.
However, instead of placing emphasis on the sexual connotations associated with the name, the brand strategy seems to be focusing on how environmentally friendly the make-up is, specifically noting that it is phthalate and paraben free.
I think that it will be very interesting to see if this cosmetics line resonates with all consumers, just as The L Word show has. Sappho and all things Sapphic have always been about pure feminine beauty, and nowadays it is not much of a reach for even conservative consumers to associate homosexuality with fashion and cosmetics.
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