Shirley Polykoff

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Shirley Polykoff (January 18, 1908 – June 4, 1998) was an American advertising executive whose "Does She... Or Doesn't She?" tagline for Clairol dramatically increased sales and earned her a place in the Advertising Hall of Fame.[1]

Born in Brooklyn, she started her career in magazine and retail ad sales before taking a position at Foote, Cone & Belding. In 1955 she took over the Clairol account, and her line helped take the hair color category from $25 million to $200 million annually, with Clairol holding a 50% market share. Even though her Clairol advertising campaign encouraged women to take charge of their own lives, she did not want to be seen earning more than her lawyer husband and insisted that her advertising agency cap her salary at $25,000 a year. Upon the death of her husband, her company immediately doubled her salary twice and promoted her.[2]

She was #24 on the Advertising Age 100 people of the 20th century and is very likely the model for the character Peggy Olsen in Mad Men.


  1. ^ Thomas, Jr., Robert McG. (June 8, 1998). "Shirley Polykoff, 90, Ad Writer Whose Query Colored A Nation". New York Times. 
  2. ^ Terry O'Reilly (April 30, 2011). "The Age of Persuasion, The Happy Homemaker: How Advertising Invented The Housewife (Part Two)" (Podcast). CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation). Retrieved September 16, 2012. 

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