The Lure of the Lipstick: Why We Don't Take A Stand Against Pro-Nature Controversies

Sunday, 19 September 2010
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(Photo credit: Marilyn Monroe)

Though you all say that you buy a lipstick on the basis of the color first and foremost, we in the biz think-
Bah! Whatever!

You see, even before we can attract you to take a look at our shade selection (which is the same as anybody else's anyway),  we will make sure you like us, that you have heard of how good our company is, how ethical we are, how we support relevant causes and all that and how you can identify yourselves with our image.


So color, after all these things, though important- is the least of our problems.  
FYI, i can match any color out there faster than you can say "I will have that orgasm blush please".

So, first and foremost, we would like you to think that we are a good company.
Now, to be considered a good company, there is a dictum that we always follow.  And that is- 

Customers are always right!

Yup-this, we firmly believe in the cosmetic biz.


Have you ever heard of a company that picks a fight with these environmental organizations telling them that they are overreacting to the paraben causes tumors scare?   I don't think so. 

And if ever any of our people did - I am sure that they will have been dealt with by the Council, their ass stapled to their demotion letter and shipped to manage a third world country as fast as they can say- "but cosmetics really do not penetrate beyond the superficial layer of the skin, duh" - which of course tantamounts to saying- we have been exaggerating all along on the effect of our products.


And speaking of, I am not a sadomaso- I would rather convert a moslem to christianity rather than make the mistake of having a debate with environmentalists.  
If these guardians of the good have made the ultimate sacrifice of giving up pork barbecue- they will stop at nothing, absolutely nothing to make sure you are protected from fear toxins released by an about to be slaughtered pig and so convert you to eating uncooked leaves instead- gawd bless them.  (Georgia and Apriltini take note).  We do not want that- do we?
While we are on the subject of food, here is a food for thought:
I have to give credit to the person who did this-
but i do not know anymore where i nicked it.
So peace - i pick my battles one at a time and for now abstain to state my overall stand on this one (though i do know someone who does)
You see, one of the most "compelling" arguments of "cosmetic safety groups" is how the skin is the most important organ of the body and that all the 15+ products we use on the skin on a daily basis are absorbed by the body through our lifetime and will do us bad.


Of course they will say that!  As we marketeers have been trying to sell this bullshit of how using cosmetics will actually alter the state of your skin!
We do know that we are lying through our teeth  - cosmetics are classified as such because it only acts on the superficial layer of the skin.  
If it acts deeper than a prescribed superficial layer, then, we will not be allowed by the legion of regulators to call it cosmetics- it will be classified as a drug and then we will have to abide to  another set of regulations altogether, a deeper level in hell which we, cosmetic marketeers do not dare to tread.
Now, if you have watched enough films, you might formulate this conspiracy theory that perhaps, some of these cosmetic giants are buying off the regulators so that a toxic ingredient will pass.  


To these I have one argument- it is far easier for us to play by the rules of the regulators and improvise (ie, bullshit) as we go along rather than be bothered with all this.  Really.


So when an environmental organization comes along to accuse that one ingredient causes unborn babies to be gay, heck we will not do a study to disprove that.  We will not argue with the customer.


We will apologize to the public, withdraw the offending products, change these ingredients (or relabel and call it by another name) and then support a foundation that dedicates research of child feminization and make sure that we get a lot of publicity from it - more than if we had spent that money on classical advertising.


Because- customers are always right!


Let me tell you a little anecdote.  

A few years ago, I was developing a line of nail polishes. We approved a great formula that applies evenly, adheres well and lasts long. Really- the formula was fantastic! Plus- it comes with this NEW technojargon called "nanotechnology"- something about having tiny, tiny particles that make the texture so wonderfully even. 


Naturally- we were jumping up and down with joy as this innovation, for once- is real- not a figment of marketing imagination.


But, months before the launch, (it takes us something like 11 to 17 months to take a product from a brief to the consumer) our labpeople came back to us with bad news:
That there is this small organization or movement or urban legend that accuses nanotechnology products to penetrate the blood system and that there is no sufficient research on the effects it could have on the body.


Note that this is a very flimsy accusation which we could have easily disproven with a study, a simple explanation, admission- whatnot.  


But did we? No.
And what did we do? 


We launched the product as usual, claimed fantastic percentages on how long it lasts, how fast it dries, how even it looks .... blah, blah, blah without the mention of nanotechnology- even if it is there.


So, controversy avoided.  Customer happy.
We stay in your list of good companies and we get the sale.  
Everybody gets what they want. 

You see- customers may always be right,
but the council of the clueless always, always end up laughing their way to the bank.