Last night I saw a post on my Facebook feed pop up saying something like “Bare Escentuals is shaking up the beauty industry with its new ad campaign, which set out to find the world's most 'beautiful' women, without seeing any of their faces beforehand; instead choosing ‘beauty’ by real women’s inspiring stories”.
I thought WOW. What a freakin’ great idea. Why the hell didn’t I think of that??!! I love it when beauty brands make truly innovative and brave moves in advertising and marketing, and sadly it doesn’t happen enough.
So I rushed to write a blog post about it and started to research it further. But upon watching the Bare Escentuals Force of Beauty campaign casting video, my heart sank almost instantly. After a promising start to the video, with the statement ‘finding the beauty in a sea of pretty’ (‘yes!’ I was thinking. ‘YES!!’), the video states ‘How We Did It’... and then a woman casually explains; “we started the selection process by sending out a survey to models and actresses...”
WHAT a let down, and what a missed opportunity for Bare Escentuals. Yes, it’s a brave move for a brand to blind-select the faces of their brand based upon personality and inspirational stories and it is definitely a step in the right direction for advertising in the beauty industry. But is there really any risk involved for the brand when the selection process only involves models and actresses?
Yes, Bare Escentuals won’t know what the people representing their brand look like until they have been cast, but they do already know that those people are going to be conventionally pretty; after all, these people are already making a career out of their looks.
Leslie Blodgett, executive chairman for Bare Escentuals, told The New York Times: “Do you know what a huge risk that is? What if all five of them were blonde, blue-eyed and 30?” What, you mean like the bulk of models already representing the beauty industry? Hmm, not such a huge risk, Leslie.
I do applaud the idea, I really do. I think it is a great way to encourage better role models in a celebrity-obsessed society where people are famous for sleeping with their premier league footballer brother-in-law, or for getting kicked off the X Factor for taking drugs (ironically, both of these people I refer to ended up on Celebrity Big Brother this year).
But I wish Bare Escentuals had been truly courageous and opened up the selection process to real women everywhere. Now that would have been brave, bold and inspirational; all the elements that they want their brand to portray.
What do you think?