Commercial Break: Hate Your Skin Less with Clinique   Leave a comment

Broadcast: 24 September 2012
Program: Bones
Channel: FOX
Conglomerate: News Corporation

Advertiser: Clinique
Owned By: Estee Lauder
Pitch: Your skin is bad.  Give us money.

In the overlooked but pretty entertaining 2002 movie Roger Dodger, Campbell Scott plays an amoral, perpetually horny, and secretly pathetic advertising man.  Explaining his trade, he gives one of the simplest and truest explanations of marketing ever to grace the silver screen:

I sit here and think of ways to make people feel bad.

This mental assault exists in most advertising, but is rarely used as nakedly as it is in this ad for skin cream.  As pleasant little piano cues repeat themselves in the background we open on two (poorly) computer animated eggs, one nice and clear, the other horribly disfigured with [gasp!] “spots”:

Good Egg and Bad Egg

You’d better run, egg!

That piece of tiny print at the bottom there reads “comments from real women”.  That’s supposed to leave in your mind the impression that the following statements came spontaneously and unprompted from normal, non-advertising people.  Of course, that’s not what it actually means.  All it really means, should anyone ever complain, is that these comments were indeed spoken into a microphone by live human females and not, I guess, generated by a computer or something.  Tellingly, it’s silent as to who wrote these “comments”, who said them, and the fact that everyone involved cashed a check for doing so.

No sooner are these two eggs on screen than we get the first voiceover, with each line coming from a different woman’s voice:

My spots are fading after two weeks.

Two weeks.

I wear less foundation.

Never looked better.

I’ll never stop using it.

I actually like my skin now.

After that, a soothing and authoritative man’s voice comes on to talk about all of the fake scientific benefits (“improves dark spots by 58%”, amazing!) of this thing before one last piece of lady voiced self-loathing:

I am beginning to love my skin.

Every single one of these is about making you feel bad about something that may or may not have even occurred to you before seeing this ad.  It’s like the modern, cosmetic equivalent of Cultural Revolution “re-education” prisons where people had to confess their inadequacies over and over again: “I am beginning to love my skin and the Great Helmsman.”  Fuck Clinique. 

Posted October 1, 2012 by Charlie Sweatpants in Commercial Break

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