Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Meme Wars: The Beauty Industry

Adbusters have been doing some good work around getting a message to a wider audience. What is interesting is the response of magazines to running an advert that is counter to the idea of make-up...

Here's how it went. Adbusters put together an advert;

Then asked about running it in various teenage magazines. Here's what they said:

Seventeen (2,000,000 readers)
The advertising rep from Seventeen emailed us a pretty terse response: “Unfortunately, we cannot accept this ad. Please let me know if you need anything else.” We sent two follow-up emails requesting clarification of their reasons, but both went unanswered. After a month of waiting, we called the representative directly. She explained that she is not at liberty to discuss their advertising policies, and that it would be up to “higher-ups” to disclose anything to us. When we asked to be put into contact with those higher-ups, the response was “We’ll call you.” They haven’t.

Teen Vogue (900,000 readers)
“I had to run this ad request through corporate, as the subject matter could have further ramifications on our business overall. Corporate has decided that we, as a company, cannot accept this ad.” At least they were forthcoming with their reasons.

CosmoGIRL! (1,400,000 readers)
According to their advertising rep, CosmoGIRL! is open to running the ad, provided that we are willing to 1) include the word “Advertisement” at the top to differentiate it from editorial, 2) include our logo, website address, or phone number for people to respond, and 3) provide supporting documentation or evidence to substantiate the claims in the ad copy.
In fact, we agree wholeheartedly with all of these requirements, and have no problem complying. But we are left wondering if CosmoGIRL! sets such stringent standards for all of its regular beauty-industry advertisers.

So much for freedom of speech.

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