Loving the Promised One

Date: 15 May 2022

Sermon Text: Luke 7:1-50

Speaker: Ps Luwin Wong

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How would you persuade women to buy the most expensive hair dye in the world? That was the question that L’Oréal had to answer in 1973. They had just released a range of hair coloring called Preference, which is still on the market today. The problem with Preference was that it was more expensive than the best selling hair dye back then – Clairol’s Nice and Easy range.

How do you price your product higher than your competitor’s, and still hope to win over their market share? In other words, how would you persuade women to buy the most expensive hair dye in the world?

L’Oreal did just that. Within 10 years of its launch Preference surpassed Nice 'n Easy as the leading hair-color brand in America.

How did they do it? The year was 1973, and the answer came from Ilon Specht, a 23-year-old copywriter working an advertising agency on Third Avenue in New York City. She coined the iconic tagline, because I’m worth it.

Here’s the script she wrote: "I use the most expensive hair colour in the world - Preference by L'Oréal. It's not that I care about money. It's that I care about my hair. It's not just the colour. I expect great colour. What is worth more to me is the way my hair feels. Smooth and silky but with body. It feels good against my neck. Actually, I don't mind spending more for L'Oréal. Because I'm worth it!"

Which was absolutely genius, because it shifted the focus away from the product, and onto the consumer. The implicit message is “Don’t ask whether L’Oreal’s new hair dye is worth the price, because if you might figure that it actually isn’t worth it. Instead, ask if you are worth spending on, if you are worth pampering, if you are worthy enough to have the most expensive hair colour in the world. And L’Oreal puts the answer on your lips: “I’ll have it, because I’m worth it.

“Because I’m Worth It” quickly became the most iconic slogan in the industry, propelling L’Oreal to become the world largest cosmetic company today. They never left the tagine behind. But in the 1990’s they changed it to “Because You’re worth it”, so it comes across as less arrogant. And in 2009, following research into consumer psychology they again edited the slogan to read ‘Because we’re worth it’.

Do you see? I’m worth it, you’re worth it, we’re worth it. Everybody’s worth it. We all want to believe it, who would dare deny it?

But what the world takes for granted as true, the bible calls into question.

Our sermon text today opens with a question of worth. Namely, are we worth saving? Are we deserving of the favour and attention, are we worthy of the love and affection of God?

Luke opens and closes this chapter with Jesus encounter with two unworthy persons – a gentile centurion and sinful woman. Yet these two are the two characters in the narrative who are rewarded and commended for their faith.