Thursday, February 20, 2014

How CoverGirl Covers Up Their True Intentions...

         Have you ever thought about HOW companies convince us to buy their products? And no, I'm not just talking about the simple answers like making commercials or advertisements that are thrown into magazines that you won't actually read.... What I mean is, do companies have specific strategies to, perhaps, "trick" us into wanting to buy their products? Think of makeup for example. Today, cosmetic companies are often criticized for preying upon women’s insecurities and self-esteem in order to sell their products. Beautiful spokesmodels like Eva Longoria, who is featured in L’OrĂ©al makeup advertisements, make us feel unnoticeable and inferior in our personal appearance. BLA BLA BLA Fashion Fox... Tell me something I don't know. Well, my loves, the CoverGirl cosmetic company claims that they are doing something different with their campaign. Although CoverGirl commercials still feature beautiful models and celebrities that demonstrate the fresh, natural, and wholesome look that we dream of possessing, the company’s mission is to inspire us with the idea that “every woman is a CoverGirl” (Monae.) In fact, the spokeswomen in CoverGirl advertisements are pointed out to each be unique in their own way. For example, in January 2012, CoverGirl premiered a commercial advertisement for their Tone Rehab Foundation, which featured Ellen Degeneres and Sofia Vergara (Check out the video below!!) This choice in spokeswomen suggests CoverGirl’s openness and acceptance of diverse personalities, sexualities, and ethnic backgrounds. However, what does acceptance of diversities have to do with makeup, or with women? From a marketing standpoint, it makes sense that CoverGirl would want to develop a sense of inclusivity within their brand in order to bring in the largest market possible. Although the campaign may appear to aim towards making women feel positively about their own beauty, we must remember the company’s true intent: to sell their product. By establishing this image of a global unity among diversities, CoverGirl successfully manipulates women into thinking that makeup directly correlates with the value of accepting cultural diversity. Although these values may be viewed as important, we must decide if wearing CoverGirl makeup is the best means of establishing these values in our society.  

    Trick #1 Each CoverGirl spokesmodel is selected to fulfill a specific purpose. What, you think they pick just ANYONE? Through their commercials, CoverGirl aims to establish the company’s ethic of diverse beauty. Alongside famous celebrities and models such as Tyra Banks, Queen Latifah, and Taylor Swift, Ellen Degeneres and Sofia Vergara join the unique collection of CoverGirl spokesmodels. All of these women are used to capture and continue the tradition of the CoverGirl image: women of diverse backgrounds, race, and size who share one common ground-- inner and outer beauty. CoverGirl makes it clear in all of their commercials that they believe that beauty is not standardized, but instead comes in a variety of colors. For example, in the Tone Rehab Foundation commercial, Ellen constantly makes jokes about Sofia’s accent. “Thats what I was supposed to say now...” Sofia whispered. “Well. No one can understand you.” Ellen responded nonchalantly. This playful banter not only makes us enjoy the commercial more, but it also highlights Sofia’s Colombian heritage (Ethnic.) Although it is no coincidence that these women are both beautiful and famous, by featuring their diversities in the commercial, the company is not simply advertising their line of makeup. CoverGirl is suggesting that even though these women look differently, they  can find powerful unity in CoverGirl makeup. We are then inclined to purchase the makeup because, not only do we want to be as “easy, breezy, and beautiful” as these idolized women, but also because this idea of unity among women encourages us to avoid brands that are designed for more limited selections of women. For example, why buy a makeup brand only for black women if you could be a part of a universal cosmetic brand that unites and empowers women of all races? By convincing us, the consumers, that the CoverGirl brand stands for something greater than just makeup alone, they are able to reel in business and eliminate their competition. 

Trick #2     The CoverGirl company is so fixated on establishing this sense of a greater purpose that they have extended their publicized acceptance of diversity beyond where makeup is even relevant. For example, featuring Ellen Degeneres as a CoverGirl makes another statement for the brand regarding diverse sexual preferences among CoverGirl’s. Advertising CoverGirl products with a well-known homosexual spokesmodel is meant to influence women to participate in a positive stance that the CoverGirl brand is proclaiming to have on homosexuality. Lesbians do not necessarily offer CoverGirl a new category of women who can wear their makeup because, homosexual women do not have different makeup needs than heterosexual women. Yet, the brand’s acceptance makes more of a political statement, and encourages women of all sexual preferences to find self-confidence and power as a member of this mixed group of women. This stance is additionally inspiring to our younger generations who have not already established any brand loyalty to certain cosmetic companies. Young women are constantly keeping up with the most current trends, and are particularly easy to inspire to become a part of a “good cause.” Not only do we all want to be considered beautiful, but we love to be a part of groups or buy things that have positive associations with them. By portraying CoverGirl as more of a “good cause” than a business, the company is able to gain a greater brand loyalty among their customers. 

Trick #3      Furthermore, pairing Ellen with Sofia in the commercial, rather than just featuring Ellen by herself, physically stresses this concept of the acceptance of differences as well. It is unusual for the CoverGirl company to feature two CoverGirl’s in one advertisement. In addition, their choice of women to feature in this particular case is even more uncommon. We all can recognize that Ellen is a white homosexual comedian while Sofia is a Columbian bombshell and television actress. As if their differences in personality, race, and sexual orientation aren’t obvious enough, even their clothes suggest that they are polar opposites. Ellen is featured wearing a tailored, white-out suit, while Sofia shows off her hourglass figure in a tight, one-shoulder, black minidress. Side-by-side these women physically represent yin and yang; however, despite their obvious differences, they are able to laugh and have fun while in each other’s company. In this commercial, CoverGirl is able to directly compare two of their most diverse spokeswomen, and “prove” to us that the company can unite and transform just about anyone, even us. On the outside, the company may seem to represent a cause that is completely aimed towards making us feel that we can accept our uniqueness. However, is CoverGirl really any different than any other makeup company? In order for us to buy into the CoverGirl “cause” and actually feel better ourselves, we must first buy the CoverGirl product. In a sense, the product is advertised in a way that diminishes our self-esteem before boosting it. We watch these beautiful spokeswomen relish in their differences, and we idolize their values of distinction. However, this causes us to immediately get a sense that their beauty and acceptance of themselves makes them superior to us. Therefore, in order to be more like them, we are inclined to buy the products that they use. CoverGirl makeup may be able to cover up our blemishes, but the makeup itself has nothing to do with our self-acceptance. Yet, we do not consider this fact because CoverGirl has created an image for itself that counters the idea of makeup being superficial. Are you feeling a little bit cheated at this point? It's okay. Me too. 

  There is no doubt that CoverGirl is changing the way women view makeup. The brand pushes for an image that embodies the general ethics of acceptance of one’s differences and beauty. However, do we really buy into the idea that all of the celebrity spokeswomen are really just average women like us?
Certainly.  CoverGirl advertisements
have captivated young audiences for years, and have transformed the company into one of the top-selling makeup lines in the country. Over time, the company will most likely continue to try and over-accept itself by diversifying their spokeswomen even more. For example, the future CoverGirl commercials may feature other types of diversities such as women with disabilities or illnesses. They may also feature women of different age groups, or even non-celebrities that will literally give audiences the feeling that a CoverGirl is really just a “girl-next-door.” They will try just about anything to make us feel that we can relate to brand’s spokesmodels. 

     CoverGirl has been very clever in using society’s values on social messages to reel in business, eliminate competition, and gain customer loyalty. Although CoverGirl advertisements make it easy for us to buy into the idea that the company aims toward representing a greater cause, we must remember that this image was specifically designed to cover up CoverGirl’s true intentions. CoverGirl revenue does not actually go towards any woman’s movement. CoverGirl is a business, not a forum for women’s activism. Like any business, the company will do whatever it takes to sell their product, including manipulating women into believing that they can only accept who they are if they use CoverGirl cosmetics. While we may share the values that the CoverGirl company claims to support, should we be disturbed by their tactics to establish these values? Is buying CoverGirl makeup the right means for us to send messages about these values? We all want to adopt this image of beauty in acceptance; however, participating in the CoverGirl “campaign” may not the way to do it. It’s up to you to decide. 

Stop and think about the commercials you watch... they may not be what you think ;)

That's all for now!


Fashion Fox

     Monae, Janelle. "JANELLE." Janelle Monae, COVERGIRL Model. Get Her Latest Looks Here. CoverGirl Cosmetics, 2012. Web. 05 Feb. 2014.
     Ellen DeGeneres and Sofia Vergara New CoverGirl Commercial. Dir. CoverGirl. Perf. Ellen DeGeneres and Sofia Vergara. YouTube. YouTube, 17 Jan. 2012. Web. 05 Feb. 2014. <>.
     Ethnic. "Sofia Vergara." EthniCelebs Celebrity Ethnicity What Nationality Background Ancestry Race RSS. WordPress Admin, n.d. Web. 05 Feb. 2014. <>.