The Cause of the Clueless: Who Really Benefits From The Cause

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 
  • 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
Support a cause- if you really care.

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.

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

(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.

The Lead in Lipstick Scare-are you dead yet?

This blog is in reaction to Meanniekitty's comment about Lead in lipsticks.

This rumor circulated a few years back:
Lead is present in lipsticks and this will kill you.
And my reaction to it then was  - NOTHING.

You see, I know when I am bullshitting and I know when I am covering up things that are foul.

This is not one of them.

But since it seems to continue troubling some of you, I write here about what the big deal is, where it came from.
Yes, LEAD is bad for you.
Yes, LEAD could be present in some of the dyes that we use for some lipsticks.
But- here's the whole story.

Any brand that sells legally are controlled by regulations.

These regulators are devil incarnates, they sit at the right hand of Satan - which is bad for us, good for you.  They are very strict in the ingredients that they allow.
 If my life as the priestess of bullshit were to be made into a movie, and I will be the heroine (in my make believe world), they will surely be one of the bad guys- perhaps played by Gary Oldman as he played that villain in The Professional. 

They allow lead in lipsticks BUT in very, very, very miniscule proportion.
Something like 1/10 parts per million- that's like a lepton, really, you might get more lead in your lungs breathing air than having maxi-servings of your rich-colour lipstick with coke and fries.
To give you a point of comparison- with candy, something that children actually eat, they allow about 5X more than that they allow in lipsticks.  Or something like that.  You get my drift.
So- NO- there has been no incidence of anyone getting cancer from lipsticks because of lead and I doubt if there will ever be one.

You have far more chances of dying from natural causes than from lead in lipsticks.

Speaking of, natural cause is the leading cause of death- so you are better off eating chunks of lipsticks, hand gliding, parachuting, rather than just sitting on your ass, cross-stitching while waiting for natural causes to happen.

And what about that test, about the gold being dark with contact to the lipstick.  It is actually the gold leaving that mark, not the lead.  But quite a nifty touch to this legend eh?

So, women of the world- continue to be glamorous and use lipsticks without fear.
And while you are at it- why not try paragliding?

(Note to self- talk about all this natural ingredient hooha in the next few blogs).