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Empowerment Sells

March 15, 2014 3 min read

Jezebel posted a massive missive about beauty companies’ ad campaigns that use empowering women as a selling power. The companies covered include Cover Girl, Estee Lauder, Revlon, Pantene, Avon, and of course Dove’s Real Beauty campaign.  The article generally puts down companies’ attempts to use the empowerment gambit to entice customers, and goes on to highlight the main points about each beauty company’s campaign. Here’s a new one from CoverGirl: Side note: Regarding the O'Brien Raymond Starfish Foundation teaming up with CoverGirl cas part of their "Girls Can" movement, Jezebel says: “For CoverGirl, it's the perfect way to convince young women that buying beauty products does not make them a bad person” Buying beauty products doesn’t make you a bad person, no need to convince us. THANKS. I’d also like to point out a few issues I found with the general lumping together of information in the article. There’s a huge difference between a campaign that falsely promotes an ideal, versus a campaign that donates proceeds to breast cancer, yes they are still using this as a marketing ploy, but at least their actions speak as loud as their words. beautycompany esteelauder Another distinction I’d like to make is between brands and companies. L’Oreal is a company that owns several brands, Dove is a brand of Unilever. This brings up the issue of company-wide stances versus conflicting ideology within a corporation. Estee Lauder appears to have a strong company-wide viewpoint on specific issues such as women or the environment, whereas Unilever who owns both Dove and AXE are clearly split on their platforms. beauty companies dove:axe I just think it’s an important distinction to make, I’m not saying this because I’m hardcore and think you should avoid all brands of a certain company that seems to flip-flop on issues. Especially because I’m not exactly sure how the company is divided up, but I assume that if I worked to promote the Dove brand, I wouldn’t really care what they’re doing over at AXE just because they also happen to be owned by Unilever. It’s like, why would Pizza Hut advertise about chicken just because Twincorp also owns KFC. So that whole argument about media falsery to boost revenue by evil corporations becomes a little bit less important, at least to me. Also, so what if they take on these initiatives for advertising reasons – they’re companies, they’re trying to sell products. It’s not like they’re not-for-profit organizations, the whole point of a corporation is to make money. Obviously there are some issues with these efforts; a cancer campaign for a company that uses carcinogens, or a disingenuous campaign from one brand of a company seemingly opposite to the stance of another brand. BUT, corporations have a bottom line, if the trend for empowering women and providing support for charities and initiatives that support domestic abuse victims or breast cancer is what will make people buy their products, then isn’t that kind of a good sign? beautycomapnies L'Oreal   Women want brands and companies that promote strong independent women, rather than a message that we need beauty products to look sexy for our man. This change in marketing alone is a sign that the world is changing, so who cares if the companies actually care about women or not? Plus at least they’re making more interesting advertising, like this Pantene one about gender bias: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XKVvBAdgcQM I think this commenter sums up my outlook best: “Sure they're using it as marketing (duh) to make more money (more duh), but wouldn't we rather they talk about empowering women then, say, being pretty to make men like you? I think I'd take these adds over ones telling me I'm going to be an old cat lady 'lest I put on the proverbial lipstick”

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