Remembering Ascendia Brands’ Dorothy Gray

This weekend in Sarasota, we met a fantastic lady who was one of the early pioneers of advertising in New York. She had worked at three major ad agencies in New York City (including Dancer Fitzgerald) at a time when women were far and few. We asked after her old accounts; were there any favorites?

One of the most interesting, she said, was Dorothy Gray.

What was Dorothy Gray, we asked? It’s not around anymore, she said, but it was one of the great cosmetics companies of the century. They did mostly print advertising. We said we would find out more.

Online, there is plenty of advertising; a quick Google search shows the website TVParty.com selling a wacky Dorothy Gray commercial the company ran for a face wash. In the commercial, it was proven that Dorothy Gray could make radioactive dust disappear! We told her we would search for some more history.

It didn’t take long to find. While the company is gone, it appears that the company’s face cream, Dorothy Gray Satura Moisture Cream, is still sold by Walgreens! Actually, the name brand survives, ready for a larger revival. It is owned by Hamilton, N.J.-based Ascendia Brands, Inc. The company describes itself as a leader in the “value and premium value segments of the health and beauty care products sector.” A recent SEC filing said this about Dorothy Gray:

“Dorothy Gray Satura – Introduced in 1916, Dorothy Gray is an “upscale” line of
face cream products specifically designed to address the needs of dry or mature
skin. The brand enjoys limited domestic distribution, with revenues generated
primarily by sales to Korea and other international markets.”

Other than Dorothy Gray, the company owns some great underutilized brands, including Mr. Bubble, Calgon, Baby Magic, Ogilvie and Binaca. Not only are these well-known names, they are brands that have cult followings, particularly Mr. Bubble and Ogilvie. Brands that have cult followings are excellent candidates for renewal, as they not only are known, they are funky enough to have logos that might sell on TV shirts, or would sell to college kids.

A bit of history. In November 2005, Ascendia bought Baby Magic, Binaca, Mr. Bubble and Ogilvie, and in February 2007 it acquired Calgon. It has two manufacturing facilities, one in Binghamton, New York, and another in Toronto, Canada. So it has some good brands. The company has recently de-listed from AMEX and its stock is now sold over the counter. The company has recently brought in a new board, and has a slate of new officers, including Robert L. Caulk, Mitchell P. Goldstein and Marilyn Feuer.

Dorothy Gray, when it was a company, was giant, and it produced dozens and dozens of brands. Ebay power seller Cleopatra’s Boudoir knows all about the perfume brands, and has published a list of those brands on her profile page. Here they are; many are also for sale on her site.

  • 1922 Beautiful Lady
  • 1922 Doritina
  • 1922 Bouquet Yvette
  • 1936 Elation
  • 1938 Flutter
  • 1938 Nosegay
  • 1941 Lady in the Dark
  • 1947 Savoir Faire
  • 1948 Indigo
  • 1953 Wedgewood
  • 1954 Figurine
  • 1957 Aureate
  • 1969 Midnight
  • 1971 Dee Gee

What would be our advice for Ascendia? Do we dare?

First, they should recognize that they have some good assets, assets that could have had as much value as Oil of Olay or Estee Lauder. While these brands do not have much valuation now, with proper management, they can be brought back to some semblance of their former selves. Second, they need to go back and revisit these products to see where mistakes were made along the way. This would mean buying up some old products from Ebay collectors, doing some library research and finding some of the folks who worked at the various brands when they were in their heyday. Third, they need to plan on how to revive each of their brands using research, sensible planning and a bit of nostalgia. And lastly, they need get their brands out of the value and premium value segments, and realize that they have first rate brands that need to be positioned as such. Dorothy Gray has some life left in her.

Below, a little Mr. Bubble from YouTube.

Calgon, take me away! Mr. Bubble. May you bubble forever!


36 Comments

  1. Dear Garland,

    I have been searching for some time to locate
    a very fine product from the Dorothy Gray Products line. Do you carry Dorothy Gray Hormone Creme 4oz. jars? How much?
    And where can I possibly get it in Reno NV?
    Thank You
    Jack

  2. Jack
    I will check; Ascendia went bankrupt and new people have purchased their brands, which included Satura Dorothy Gray and Mr. Bubble. I am not sure which company bought the rights, but I do know that Walgreen’s last time I checked, stopped selling Satura. I haven’t been in the business of stocking products but if I can find some I will post it.

  3. Dear Garland, I would love to get a hold of dorothy grays hormone cream,it realy worked!! I would pay any price for it,Thank You Cheryl Thornhill

  4. Somebody asked me for Dorothy Gray Satura moisturizer…!

    So do you know if Walgreen’s still has that product?

    I really need it!

  5. Please help me to locate D.G.Satura as I’ve
    used it for 50 years & must have it now for my
    now dry/maturing skin.

    Thankyou,
    Loretta

  6. Walgreen”s has informed me that they were
    told 7 weeks ago that the Dorothy Gray Line
    was being closed out and that I might find it
    on the Internet.

    Loretta

  7. I have been trying to find your deordorant TUSSY for some time. It is a great product that is just a DEORDORANT and NOT an Anti-perspirant. My son is getting married in 4 weeks and I NEED this product. I have tried Wallgreens but they no longer have stock. Where can I find this product?

  8. I just wanted to share if anyone is looking for Dorothy Gray Satura Hormone cream they have it online at Amazon.com they have the basic cream and the one with Vitamin A. You can get it for $19.95.
    Also if you just put in Dorothy Gray Moisture cream on your internet search you can buy it at different sites, I saw one for $12.49?

  9. hello, i would like to know about the eau de toilet’s Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter by Dorothy Gray, i would like to find about them or if possible purchase one, where they would sell them? thanks!


  10. My daughter wore LOVE SONG by Dorothy Gray in the late 1960’s. It was wonderful on her. I would so like to be able to find this fragrance for her. Any suggestions????

  11. I bought a Dorothy Gray compact at a yard sale. It is made of leather with a beautiful cover. Inside there is a mirror and the puff has Dorothy Gray written on it. There is still some face powder inside. Does any one have any idea when it was made?

  12. Have been trying for a very long time to find Dorothy Grey Eye Emollient Cream (the jar is identical to Satura eye cream jar-) emollient is yellowish in appearance and somewhat like a vert thick vaseline. I used it for many years – excellent product. Always could find it in Rite-Aide stores. All of a sudden it disappeared. Yankee Country Store in Vt. had some for a short while, and now stopped offering it. Can you please help me to find it again, it was wonderful and never irritated the eye plus eliminated wrinkles. This new formula is white and creamy and nothing like old formula…. Pls. help. Thanks

  13. Please can anyone tell me what happened to Midnight by Dorothy Gray? It was my most favourite perfume in my teens. (late 1960s)
    I still remember the smell now like a smell you get on a hot beach with lots of people in suntan cream around you. How smells get locked away with memories !
    If anyone knows where I can get some used or otherwise I would be so happy
    please email me, I am in England.
    Thankyou
    Pat

  14. I have used Dorethy gray creams for many years, but I can’t find it any more, does it still exist. I am living in france and I have not seen it here. Would you be so kind and tell me where I can get it, even if I have to order it from enternet. Thank you Michèle

  15. I would also like to find Dorothy Gray Hormone Cream. My mother used this cream and never had wrinkles in her life. We used to buy it in the pharmacy and they stopped carrying it and then had to go to a surrounding city to pick it up. She passed away 4 years ago and now Iwouldlike to find some if possible.

  16. I remember Dorothy Gray fragrance, Secret of the Sea. It was an inexpensive, light fragrance that made you feel good just wearing it.

  17. can you please tell me where I can buy Dorothy Grey Eye Emollient Cream?

  18. I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW HOW TO ORDER DOROTHY GREY BASIC MOISTURE CREAM & EYE CREAM.

  19. Can someone tell me if they still make Doroty Gay Orange Blossom toner? I loved it as a young woman and am intersted in it now being that I am approaching 50.

  20. Can someone tell me if they are still makeing the Dorothy Gray Orange blossom toner. I used it as a young lady and would love to start useing it again being now I am closing in on 50. Is it under another name?

  21. I have used Satura moisturizer for over 40 years. Originally, I used the Satura w/hormones which dissappeared many years agol But the Vitamin A formula gave good results as well. I recenlty bought 2 jars of the Vitamin A formula. It is NOT the same product, feels heavy & greasy and does not absorb into the skin. What happened? I have written to two addresses, including the one on the jar for Ascendia Brands. Letters were returned, undeliverable. Would like to purchase formula I have used most of my life. Can you help?

  22. Armie. Ernewayn from el paso Texas. You can find. The cream just. About. Any store that the chinese people. Own or walmart walgreens I wh love the cream

  23. My mother past away 3 years ago at the age of 93. Her skin was flawless and barely any wrinkles at all. She used D.G. Orange Blossom toner and D.G.’s Satura for years. I’ve been using it as well w/no wrinkles and I’m 70. I would LOVE to find the original product as the fake Satura that is being sold today is horrible. It’s like putting pink Crisco on your face.

  24. The last time I ordered Dorthy Gray Satura vitamin A it WAS NOT the same formula that it had been for the many years I used the product. Has its formula been changed? Is it possible to get a sample to make sure I get what I think I am ordering?

  25. Hello–My uncle was married to Dorothy Gray for several years. Joane Gray

  26. HURRY, BIDDING END IN 7 DAYS!!!

  27. Folks, please have a look at the history of Dorothy Gray, the woman, and her company, at the link below. It appears that sometime in the 70s and 80s the company changed hands several times when it finally ended up in the hands of Ascendia Brands which itself went into receivership. This would explain why the products aren’t available. It’s possible that the cream being sold under its name is made elsewhere and they are just putting the Dorothy Gray label on it. The only place where they still seem to be still manufacturing and selling Dorothy Gray products is Argentina. If any of you is planning a trip to Buenos Aires that would be the place to find Dorothy Gray products that are no longer available in the U.S.

    See the article: http://cosmeticsandskin.com/companies/dorothy-gray.php

  28. me gustaria vender en mi negocio la crema satura, juchas gracias por su atencion.

  29. can you tell me, if satura moisture cream basic formula is only day cream or can be to the night ? y like know it!
    thanks for your attention !

  30. Joanne Gray

    Your uncle would’ve been married to my great aunt then? Was this Dr. Gray? Or someone else. Need to talk to you! I live in Maine.


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