It probably started with Body Shop supporting the cause of everything in the planet or MAC (MakeUp Artists of Canada) for anything AIDS related.
When these two companies started, there were real passionate people behind it, with Body Shop of course, there was Anita Roddick whose life, if you google about it "tallies" with her real intentions to help. With MAC, there were Frank Toskan and Frank Angelo who intended their line for make-up artists, thus a support to the cause close to their hearts, AIDS has a genuine ring about it. It made sense because it was genuine.
Since then, Anita has passed away, Body Shop has been bought by the biggest company in makeup. MAC has likewise been bought by Estée Lauder.Now, just about all cosmetic brands HAVE TO support a cause.
Nothing wrong with supporting a cause- we are led to believe that it is noble to think of something bigger than ourselves.
But you know what bothers me?
My bullshit antenna is ringing- fake, fake, fake!
And you know what?
It IS fake.It may seem as real as a faked orgasm - BUT it is still fake.
We really do not care about these causes, we are just doing it because that will make you like us and if you like us, you will buy us.
Why, it makes it easier for you to buy your 212th peach shade of lipstick even if you do not really need it- because you are doing it for a good cause.
Okay, so let me take you to a meeting I had with Public Relations, the geist goes something like this -
Moi : Trending report says our consumers will like us more if we support a cause and care about something - what causes can you suggest?
PR : Well, we can reinforce our natural positioning and support the environment.
Moi : Bah, Body Shop already took all the causes there is to support environment-wise.
PR: Well, we can save some endangered species, like the rhinoceros or the monitor lizard.
Moi : Nah, first, that is not sexy to my target market. Second, it will not get me a lot of press.
PR : Ok, what about children related causes?
Moi : If I support children, only consumers with children can relate. My target market are those that revere SexInTheCity. Can you actually see Samantha caring about children? There has to be something else.
PR : Well, what about woman empowerment?
Moi : Our evil nemesis is already is doing that. And making much noise about it. Gawd, I hate them.
PR: Ok, what about about relationships.
Moi: Hmmm, intriguing... like what?
PR: Mother -daughter relationships, we can have a Mother-daughter beauty contest to start with. Then we can have have a popularity contest, where customers who buy a product can vote for their contestants. And contestants will push our cause because they want to win. And then, proceeds will go to mothers and daughters, scholarships, shopping spree.
Moi: And does it agree with our positioning?
PR: Well, even Samantha, I imagine will have a mother.
Moi: Ok, and how much will this cost us?
PR: 2Million tops and we can have media mileage that is worth 10Million at least. You save 8Million, if you think about it- rather than just buying advertising.
Moi: Great then, go ahead then- and time it for the holiday shopping season, will you? And btw, the donations we will give - they are of course tax-deductible aren't they?
So, If we really care about these causes-
- how come, we cannot support them anonymously and really have the pleasure of giving selflessly?
- how come you have to buy our products for us to give a donation to the cause?
- how come we have to have our big logo and even worse, name the foundation after our company?
Because, we do not really give a f*ck, that is why.The only cause we care about is the cause of the Council of the Clueless bank account.
There is a line that divides SUPPORTING a cause and USING it.
I say you really support a cause if
Support a cause- if you really care.
- you expect nothing from it in return,
- even if it is not in your strategy,
- even if it is not receiving a lot of media mileage
- and not unless you have the most amazing pair of bee stung lips and are married to Brad Pitt, (because she makes it her job to use her popularity to drive attention to the cause)- support a cause anonymously i dare you
The road to beauty need not be filled with bullshit- beauty companies need not make suckers out of us.
If we really want to make this world a better place, I say we should cut the crap and give women the real deal.