Marketing is sometimes about taking the ordinary and presenting it as something desirable or wonderful. I am always on the lookout for this kind of stuff. Lately a phrase has been stuck in my head. It is not new and has stood the test of time.

In 1987, a new line of hair care products came to market. Previously, hair coloring had been geared mostly to women, particularly women who wanted to color their gray hair. This time around, it was a hair coloring product for men. It was the well-named “Just for Men” hair color.

Here is the good part:

Men who so desired could get rid of all the gray or leave, “just a touch of gray.” The phrase “just a touch of gray” makes it sound like it is something you want to have. Just the right amount. Like it is a very good thing.

The right amount makes you look mature but not old. Also, it looks natural. A great ad campaign that is still working to this day. I am thinking that “just a touch” is good for lots of things. Like in cooking. Just a touch of salt, or a touch of smoky flavor.

In a strange twist, also in 1987, the Grateful Dead released a song called “Touch of Grey” spelled with an e. They played this song for the first time as an encore Sept. 15, 1982, in the Capitol Center at Landover, Md. Robert Hunter wrote the words and Jerry Garcia wrote the music.

The song is about growing old. It was a commercial success, and the group’s first and only song to break the Billboard Top 10, peaking at number nine.

“Touch of Grey” made it all the way to number one on the mainstream rock chart. Hearing the song on mainstream radio stations brought a new audience to the Dead. These fans are sometimes referred to as “Touch Heads” by veteran followers.

With old and new fans together, Grateful Dead shows now could barely be held by outdoor stadiums.

According to Meriam-Webster: Gray and grey are both common spellings of the color between black and white. Gray is more frequent in American English, grey is more common in British English.

Like most of my readers, I have passed the touch of gray phase of my life and am now gray all the way.

I am not old, I am classic…

Glenn Billington is a lifelong resident of Rockland and has worked for The Courier-Gazette and The Free Press since 1989.

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