Welcome to I'm Not Buying That, the blog where we dissect the woeful mistakes of the advertising industry. I'm your host, CJ Garrett, and I view terrible ads so you don't have to.

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Thursday, October 7, 2010

Welcome to the Internet, L'Oréal. We hope you enjoy your stay.

You know, I like to think that the major brands of the world have marketing departments that are staffed by actual people, and not dribbling morons. Some days, though, I like to believe that there's actually a network of marketing underlings spread out across the world that are enacting some huge, Illuminati-like plan that involves shockingly bad advertising. The alternative - that rational individuals looked at this and decided it was actually going to work - is almost too depressing to contemplate.

The latest fail comes to us courtesy of the Cleveland Leader, because I am being a little bit random for the sheer hell of it and picking a site I've never heard of. Let's talk for a minute about Beyonce.

Yup, attractive woman modelling for L'Oreal. 'This is not news', I hear you cry - BUT WAIT. Here's a picture of Beyonce without all the crazy Photoshopping.

Oh yes, still jaw-droppingly desireable. Note the slight difference, though - L'Oreal decided to lighten up her skin for their advertising campaign, presumeably because they think the fact that this unimagineably delicious singer has dark skin is a mark against her.

Whitewashing. Did they really think the Internet wouldn't notice? The same collective hive mind that can obsess over whether Wolverine or the Hulk would win in a fight, and write slash fiction about Edward and Jacob? (I've read it. It is not for the faint of heart.) L'Oreal has learned a harsh lesson - what could be dismissed or forgotten in meatspace can live on and spread like a disease in cyberspace, and you ignore the viral effect at your peril.

What's worse is that here, they denied they'd done anything - and then used the same image, darkened, elsewhere! They must think we're completely stupid.

Never, ever forget that the Internet can take your best efforts and turn them upside down in a matter of days - and, good grief, think about the obvious consequenses of changing a fundamental feature of your model where people can easily reference 'before' pictures. This is like using a photo of Russell Crowe, but shopping his nose so that it doesn't look like it's been broken in three places! People Will Notice, because people are obsessive, and the backlash when they find out isn't going to bode well for sales.

CJ, over and out


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