MARKETING rule No. 1: Make sure you know what your celebrity is going to say before the press conference. Marketing rule No. 2: Ask your celebrity not to embarrass you.
It might have helped Chairman Robert Phillips and Joseph Spellman, executive vice president of Elizabeth Arden, the cosmetics company, to have followed these simple rules before launching three new perfumes this week.
Instead, Mr. Phillips and Mr. Spellman could only try to act nonplused as Elizabeth Taylor proceeded to act like ... well Liz, the feisty, plain-talking, tabloid-selling celebrity that she is.
Asked why she was introducing three new perfumes at once, Ms. Taylor said it was not her idea. ``I would have strung them out over a couple of years,'' Taylor answered. ``If these flop, it's their fault,'' she said, looking at Phillips and Spellman. The two men said introducing three perfumes at once was making ``a statement.''
The three new perfumes are named after emeralds, rubies, and sapphires. They will be marketed with ``White Diamonds,'' which was introduced in the fall of 1991.
Yet timing does not seem to be the only disagreement. When a beauty editor asked Taylor why she was not introducing a line of makeup to go with the perfumes, she replied that she had been trying to get Arden to do this for years. ``I may have to move to a different company,'' she said.
No, Elizabeth Arden probably wouldn't like that. After all, White Diamonds is the top-selling fragrance in the country today. According to gossip columnist Liz Smith, the nation's boudoirs hold $300 million worth of the perfume.
However, Arden might like to consult with Taylor about what types of answers she should give at their press conferences. Asked about skin care, Taylor looked at the Arden executives and said, ``They aren't going to like this.'' She then proceeded to describe how she uses soap, water, and a cream with aloe vera and lanolin. Nothing fancy. You can buy it in the supermarket.
Taylor and Arden will get the chance to practice their act. Immediately after the New York press conference, Taylor, her dog Sugar, and some Arden executives headed off for an eight-city promotional tour. Taylor, who intends to talk to the press and public on the stops, is certain to make it interesting since she does not follow the marketing rules. Instead, she makes her own.