Client of the Week: Revelling in Rimmel’s remake

Margaret Donnelly has no problem enjoying her job at Coty. Emma Hall reports.

Margaret Donnelly has no problem enjoying her job at Coty. Emma

Hall reports.

Like most women, Margaret Donnelly, Coty UK’s marketing director for

mass cosmetics, loves putting make-up on, but hates taking it off.

Unlike most women, she can sit in the office painting her nails and

legitimately claim to be working.

But there won’t be much time for manicures now she is working flat out

on a major relaunch of the Rimmel cosmetics range, alongside her newly

appointed advertising agency, J. Walter Thompson, of whom she expects

’distinctive’ advertising (Campaign, last week).

’I admire the way that St Luke’s and No 7 are trying to break the

mould,’ she says. For Rimmel’s advertising, Donnelly has ruled out

supermodels or white-coated experts - instead, she intends to demystify

the brand and take Rimmel closer to its audience.

For example, Rimmel’s new long-lasting lipstick will not be promoted on

the basis of pseudo-scientific claims. Its name, ’a thousand kisses’,

provides explanation of the product’s properties.

’Rimmel should make you smile,’ says Donnelly, who has been marketing

cosmetics and perfumes since 1987, when she joined Max Factor. She adds:

’I was seduced by the beauty market - for me it’s like being a

chocoholic and working for Cadbury.’

After completing an economics degree at Queen’s University in her native

Ulster, Donnelly began work as a graduate trainee at BP, where she

remained for five years. She lives in west London with her husband, whom

she met at university.

Three years after her move from BP to Max Factor, the company was bought

by Procter and Gamble, and Donnelly led the brand’s relaunch in the

early 90s, before moving to Coty in 1993, just after it had been

acquired by Benckiser. The company bought Rimmel at the end of last


Donnelly enjoys writing short stories (for which she has won prizes),

painting, and riding her three horses. Such weekend activities play

havoc with her personal grooming, though. As she reveals: ’I have to do

a major job on my nails on Sunday evenings.’

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