By the Numbers

SI Swimsuit Issue - Does the Market Prefer Blondes?

On a whim and based on Darren Rovell's documentary on the with Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, I did a quick scan on how the Dow and S&P performed in years that the magazine cover featured a blonde versus a brunette.  I gauged hair color based on thumbnails on the SI Web site.  Note: color of wet hair is hard to determine but here are the results...

>> Business Model: SI Swimsuit Issue

47 covers from 1964 until now:

  • 24 Blonde covers (including this year's) — average annual return of Dow 10.0%, S&P 10.8%

Source: Sports Illustrated

  • Note: The covergirl from 2008, Marissa Miller (see photo on right), is a blonde and the Dow and S&P fell 33.8 and 38.5% respectively that year
  • 19 Brunette covers — average annual return of Dow 2.2%, S&P 2.3%
  • 3 covers with multiple models of varied hair color
  • 1 cover with a redhead (or so it appears)
  • When I shared these findings with Darren, he pointed out that the models' nationality also has an interesting result. According to Bespoke Investment Group, since 1978 the S&P has returned an average 10.6% when an American is on the cover versus a 8.2% average return when a model from another country is on the cover. 

    Between the Saints winand Brooklyn Decker, are we in for a good year after all?

    See the SI covers associated from the best market years on the following pages.

    Top Swimsuit Issue Covers by Market Performance

    Source: Sports Illustrated

    1975 Cover - Cheryl Tiegs

    Dow:  Up 38.3%

    S&P 500:  Up 31.5%

    Source: Sports Illustrated

    1995 - Daniela

    Dow:  Up 33.5%

    S&P 500:  Up 34.1%

    Source: Sports Illustrated

    1985 - Paulina Porizkova

    Dow:  Up 27.7%

    S&P 500:  Up 26.3%

    Source: Sports Illustrated

    1989 - Kathy Ireland

    Dow:  Up 27.0%

    S&P 500:  Up 27.3%

    Source: Sports Illustrated
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