Charlie Cook's MArketing for Success Insider's Club


Have You Ever Put Lipstick on a Pig?

Author: Charlie Cook   |   September 10th, 2008

What is it with putting lipstick on a pig?

Obama and McCain both seem to love this phrase. According to Meghan McCain her Dad uses it frequently and at last count McCain used it plenty publicly referring to Hilary’s health care plan and to Mitt Romney.

What’s it mean?

It refers to dressing something up and trying to sell it as something it isn’t.

Obviously you can take this idea too far and the first thing I’d recommend is that to anyone who uses this phrase drop but don’t dump the concept.

What am I saying? Should you put lipstick on a pig?

No! But regularly businesses rename products and bring them back to life. For example book publishers look at poorly selling titles and if the book looks like it could have life they come up with a better title, one that catches attention and sells.

So don’t throw the baby out with the bath water, use this idea, just not to literally.

Does this work? Does renaming and repacking existing products or services work to bring life to a poor sales?

Yes! It’s one of the easiest ways to ramp up profits. Just don’t call it putting lipstick on a pig. And of course I’m assuming none of your products or services are pigs anyways.

– Charlie

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3 Responses to “Have You Ever Put Lipstick on a Pig?”

  1. Michelle Says:

    Businesses do this all the time. The phrase “New and Improved” has been attached to everything from lamps to winter jackets. The food industry constantly employs this tactic. Food packages often state, “New look, same great taste!” These are all ways of keeping consumers interested and engaged.

  2. Richard Muir Says:

    Such a great philosophy of testing! As long as the product is good but to renew it with a fresh face well I think it seems smart


  3. BMW Sydney Sales Says:

    Hi Charlie.

    Keeping the theme, I heard Sarah Palin make this joke on the radio today: Q. What’s the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull? A: Lipstick

    From your post, what if the product you need to rename and rebrand IS LIPSTICK?

    Who’ll be the first cosmetic company to actually put lipstick on a pig for a viral marketing campaign?


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