Lancôme’s 80 year anniversary shows how a brand can continue to reinvent itself

By Andrew MCDOUGALL contact

- Last updated on GMT

Lancôme’s 80 year anniversary shows how a brand can continue to reinvent itself

Related tags: Skin care, Cosmetics

L’Oréal is celebrating 80 years of beauty brand Lancôme in 2015, stating that it is a great example of a brand that has kept its core principles in tact but been able to reinvent itself over the years for success.

In the cosmetics maker’s recent annual results, Lancôme delivered a solid performance in skin care, fragrance and make-up which suggest that 80 years from its birth, the brand still resonates with consumers.

In fragrances, ‘La vie est belle’ was the the number one selling fragrance in France, and number two in Europe, whilst skin care cream Visionnaire and Grandiôse mascara, winner of the Prix d'Excellence Marie Claire, are also very successful; helping the L'Oréal Luxe unit record growth of 7.1% like-for-like and 5.7% based on reported figures.

The brand is currently revamping its point-of-sales identity, advertising campaigns and ambassadors, which is another example of what L’Oréal claims is a brand that stays ‘true to itself yet is ceaselessly being reinvented.’


Lancôme was founded in 1935 by Armand Petitjean in France, as a fragrance house; the name inspired by the ruins of a castle, Le Château de Lancosme, while the roses in the area inspired the company’s symbol of the single golden rose.

It launched its first five fragrances in 1935 at the World's Fair in Brussels: Tendre Nuit, Bocages, Conquete, Kypre and Tropiques, before Petitjean entered into the luxury skin care market, launching his first all-purpose repair cream in 1936, followed by make-up, cosmetics, and skin care products.

Lancôme was acquired by L'oreal in 1964, and became part of its luxury products division, where it has become one of the most successful international brands.

In order to mark the brand’s 80 years anniversary, L’Oréal has launched a number of initiatives.

“Above all, we wanted this celebration to be a moment of joy,”​ states Françoise Lehmann, Lancôme’s General Manager.

“Because – for Lancôme – beauty goes hand in hand with happiness. So it’s a birthday in the form of a celebration, which each month will reaffirm the brand’s greatest ambition: making women’s lives more beautiful with Lancôme!”


The first of these initiatives takes the form of a film, ‘This is not a rose’ created by the Lancôme House with the help of director Thomas Tyman to honour 80 years of French beauty.

It was unveiled exclusively on the internet on February 20th, the day preceding the anniversary of Lancôme’s creation (February 21st, 1935), ringing in the official launch of a year of celebration.

Other initiatives include a coffee-table book, published by Editions du Regard available in March, detailing the brand story, as well as limited-edition sets of iconic products in July. 

In addition, the celebration will take digital form, with the first limited edition exclusive to the Lancôme website: three original colours of L’Absolu Rouge inspired by heritage shades, along with a participatory and creative platform, ‘You are Lancôme’, where users will be able to express their vision of the brand.

To close the year, Lancôme will also be offering a new interpretation of the lipstick ‘Les Jumelés’ (original 1958), and a jewelled edition of La vie est belle L’Absolu de Parfum.

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