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Posts Tagged ‘Maybelline’

It’s Only Pop

August 22nd, 2013 No comments

link Live Positively.

Decades ago, Coca Cola adopted the song “I’d Like To Teach The World To Sing” by the New Seekers as part of their corporate advertising campaign.  It was a smash hit and so began the ingenious marketing program for Coca Cola which paired their product with subliminal feel good associations.  Drink coke= save the world, peace love etc etc.  Ok, seems reasonable.

Over ensuing generations the ads changed, but the underlying message was the same.  The Mean Joe Greene superbowl ad is still widely hailed as a fan favorite and even the quizzical campaigns involving cartoon polar bears was about being social and having fun.

Something must have happened at the ad agency because the recent tone of their ads has gone absolutely Bloomberg.  Consumers will notice that the tone is  less Madison Avenue and more Jewish grandmother.  Instead of saying that “Coke is it”, or preaching world peace with every bottle, they are now essentially saying that Coke is only a small part of a sensible diet combined with other intelligent food choices.  Try to write that into a jingle. Their own website is downplaying their flagship product in favour of promoting their diverse line of  other healthy ‘lifestyle’ choices.  They may as well have a skull and crossbones on their logo is the implication.

Is this a good idea? Do people want to have a figurative finger wagging in their face when they consume a fizzy drink? Do they attach a stalk of brocolli to each bottle to make everyone feel better about having a coke?  It’s hard to say whether the company is a pioneer in their marketing or are only responding to the dumbing down of society.  In fact there are many subtexts of ‘responsibility’ or of ‘greenness’ in the marketing of all manner of products today. “Organic” and “fair trade” are common labels for all kinds of things which presumably assuage consumers’ latent guilt.  Are they pre-emptively mounting a propaganda campaign to counter possible regulation of all obesity causing products?  Coca Cola does have a history of knuckling down to public pressure (http://articles.latimes.com/2012/apr/06/business/la-fi-mo-coca-cola-kraft-alec-20120406).

Or is the head of the ad campaign in fact a Jewish grandmother?  Other companies, notably the makers of Cialis are more forthright about what their products are for and don’t obfuscate their ads with preachy admonitions to use protection or to keep the noise down to protect the neighbours.  We don’t see car ads reminding people to observe all traffic rules and to wear seat belts.  We don’t see ads for women’s makeup such as Maybelline include warnings about being too slutty after an over application of their products.

Why does Coca Cola feel the need to cater to the weenie crowd?  They have a franchise and they have a cachet.  They should not screw with their recipe for success as was painfully proven by their ill fated foray into ‘New Coke’.  If they’re not careful, people will change their consumption habits just to avoid their preachiness.  At bars, people will order rum and Pepsis.  It doesn’t sound the same, but at least it comes without sanctimony.

Miss Universe 2011- Racist?

September 12th, 2011 No comments

link Miss Universe 2011: Is the Contest Racist? – International Business Times.

It was only a matter of time before the R word came to be an issue in a beauty contest.  We see this type of claim so often in the news, it has lost all credibility.  Years ago, it was determined by some that such beauty contests were white dominated, so someone started a Miss Black America contest.  They even have a Miss Asian America contest.  Well that’s all nice.  You can make a pretty good case that the last two contests may be racist, but even so, in both cases, the contestants are adhering to the ‘western’ ideal of what is attractive.

So is the Miss Universe Pageant racist?  The author of this article claims that women in these ‘world’ contests overwhelmingly have western features to the exclusion of other cultures and races.  The author, Jamie Blair is only partly correct.  For some reason, there are those that think captivating eyes, perfect teeth and shapely figures are attractive.   First of all, let’s consider who sponsors the event.  It’s a gaggle of Western advertisers who are selling beauty products.  The sponsors are typically Maybelline, Max Factor or some other cosmetic company or business connected to the beauty racket.  Does that mean women worldwide who buy these corporate products are complicit in racism?  Wake up Jamie Blair, they’re hawking goods, not creating legacies.  For this reason, Purina Pet Foods or McDonalds are seldom major supporters of such shows.

The success of this type of show is all about capitalizing on the insecurities of young women and the prurient interests of men.  Boy, talk about shooting fish in barrels!  It’s no coincidence that since the advertising is geared towards western tastes from predominantly western companies, that the contestants would reflect western ideals as well.  This is actually harder than it sounds.  If the author were to only look at the average woman on the street, he or she would know that the attractive, tall, emaciated and pneumatic ideal perpetrated by beauty pageants is pretty rare even in the western world…especially in cheese friendly Wisconsin.  If the author thinks the contests are racist, what does that say to the vast majority of western women who come closer to looking like Mr. Universe rather than Miss Universe?

Secondly, is it reasonable to expect that the majority of the intended audience, already established as being western, would find certain beauty attributes of all cultures attractive?  For instance, the women of the Maasai tribe in Kenya are determined to be beautiful by having elongated necks from wearing a series of rings worn to stretch them.  Would that sell in Peoria?  Probably not.  Do we include Pygmies?  Albinos?  What about the famed proclivity of European women to prefer a more natural, hirsute appearance?  I think it’s pretty universally accepted that uni-brows and hairy upper lips aren’t going to sell any makeup.

The author’s sentiments are wildly misplaced.  The feminine ideal as portrayed by beauty contests owes much of its standards of feminine comeliness to gay men! That’s right, most of the costumes, makeup and hair involve the efforts of the gay community. So if there’s any complaining about unfairness, take it up with Perez Hilton.  Finally, there is the nonsensical bleat about such contests being inclusive of ‘inner beauty’ etc etc.  We all know this is as much fantasy as global warming.  If inner beauty had anything to do with the contest outcome, L’Oreal would be out of business and Mother Teresa would have been a winner 5 or 6 times in a row.

Unfortunately, as far as what or who is considered beautiful, life is unfair.  Unlike money, you can’t just even it out among everyone.  Deal with it.