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Finding Beauty in Empowerment: “Because I’m Worth It”

At the age of 23, young female copywriter Ilon Specht of McCann Erickson had no idea that her simple ad line would have such longevity.

“We were sitting in this big office,” recalls Specht, “everyone was discussing what the ad should be. They wanted to do something with a woman sitting by a window, and the wind blowing through the curtains. You know, one of those fake places with big, glamorous curtains. The woman was a complete object. I don’t think she even spoke. They just didn’t get it. We were in there for hours. I could just see that they had this traditional view of women and my feeling was that I’m not writing an ad about looking good for men. …”

In a whirlwind of frustrations, she came up with the tagline, “Because I’m Worth It” for L’Oréal in 1973. As the feminist movement was underway, this demanding statement, as declared by the strong, beautiful women in L’Oréal’s ads, felt like a battle cry. It was a line that all women, even those who wouldn’t consider themselves feminists, could get behind.

“I just thought, ‘F*** you.’ I sat down and did it, in five minutes. It was very personal. I can recite to you the whole commercial, because I was so angry when I wrote it.”

—Ilon Specht, Copywriter (4A’s interview, 2017)

Early versions of this campaign openly admitted that L’Oréal products were costly, but that female consumers deserved the highest quality … that they were “worth it.” At the suggestion of one of the campaign’s spokespeople, the tagline would eventually change to “Because You’re Worth It.” And to this day, the confident line lives on.