|Image taken from bareMinerals campaign site|
The advertising industry has come up against strong criticism for beauty ads recently. I've been following the dispute through a daily MarketingWeek bulletin. The most recent articles have really made me think about both sides of the argument; from a Marketeers point of view and as beauty product consumer.
The ad industry are accused of heavy airbrushing and lack of realism in the ads they create. Heavily cited are the computerised models on the H&M site and the banned L'Oreal ads. As I'm in Marketing, I can understand why they use these techniques - to sell, attractiveness sells.
I then read the following quote from a spokesperson at Boots on the subject; "Women don't want to see unattractive or everyday people - they want...aspirational." On second reading of this, I felt quite offended. In their 'terms' I would be classed as an "everyday" person. I can't quite find the right words to say why it offends me. Perhaps because I fall into the everyday category or perhaps because I don't fit in to the unattainable beauty category. Either way I felt quite put out and it pushed me to carry on with a little more research.
Then I came across a campaign that bareMinerals have created - "Be a Force of Beauty". bareMinerals have recently become the brand partner of the All Parliamentary Group for the Body Confidence Awards this coming April. I was interested.
As part of their campaign they have 'blindly' selected 5 models whose photos, that feature here on the campaign website, have not been subject to any airbrushing whatsoever. I personally prefer these more real and natural beauty shots. Overall I spent about 15-20 minutes on the site, looking at the products they were wearing and the videos they have to support their photo. I can most definitely state that the adverts where it is almost obvious the photo has been heavily airbrushed, have never encouraged me to find out more about the product. A strong part of you knows it's not real so why waste your time looking at a product that is never going to prove to be miraculous! I think a natural photo builds a more natural affinity between the consumer and the product.
The Campaign for Body Confidence Awards are to recognise those brands who show best practise and encourage/help to promote body confidence. Why are they doing this? They believe that "ad industries need to stop ripping off consumers with dishonest images...Images can be aspirational without being faked." Just look at the bareMinerals campaign site to believe it.
It makes sense though...was it a supermarket or meat/egg producer's advert that was taken off the TV for falsely suggesting that the chicken or pig lived a long and 'happy' life in a huge field. So if something like this cannot be falsely advertised then why should the beauty industry be allowed to get away with it? My biggest bug-bear is mascara adverts - you can quite clearly see the models are wearing false eyelashes, yet that isn't false advertising?!
In an age where it is 'normal' to go ahead with all different types of cosmetic surgery and fake'ness' is celebrated (think The Only Way is Essex and Desperate Scousewives), I think a campaign like this is seriously needed. I don't have anything against a set of falsies or cosmetic surgery, I might be in a place one day where I feel it is right for me, I just feel that girls, women, boys and men are clearly lacking confidence in their natural beauty. Otherwise why would you want to augment that if you were truly happy and confident with what you naturally have. I love the line "pretty is what you are, beauty is what you do with it" on the bareMinerals site/image above. Also to mention, this post comes across as suggesting that beauty is aesthetic, it really isn't. Beauty comes in all forms and like the quote, your actions and how you carry it off is what beauty is.
Find out more about the Campaign for Body Confidence here and if you agree sign their pledge.
Websites cited; MarketingWeek , Campaign for Body Confidence and bareMinerals
Disclaimer: Opinions in this post are my own. Where I have quoted others, this material is cited above.