NEW YORK—Asserting that makeup can do little beyond creating a fleeting illusion of youth and beauty, cosmetics giant Revlon launched a new series of ads this week aimed at reminding its customers they will never be able to change what they are.
The company’s “You Are What You Are” campaign, which debuted with dark and haunting multi-page spreads in several major fashion magazines, cautions consumers that, at best, makeup is a sad disguise people hide behind in a futile attempt to avoid uncomfortable facts about their true nature.
“If you’re disappointed by what you see on the outside, just imagine how horrifying you must be on the inside…”
“With our new ad campaign, we want to emphasize that you can buy all the lotions, powders, and fragrances you want, but you can’t escape who you really are: a fragile, flawed, and ultimately insignificant being who is tormented by fear and insecurity,” Revlon vice president Vivian Falk said in a press release introducing the advertisements. “It’s fine to use our products if they make you feel a little more attractive, but just remember it’s only a temporary distraction from the terrifying reality of your barren, unfulfilling life.”
“Your existence is a dismal and feeble one, and no amount of mascara is ever going to change that,” Falk added. Read the rest of this entry »
Certain commercial jingles get stuck in your head for years. Some even for decades.
That’s the case for me with this Revlon “Charlie” ad. I was a kid when I first heard it, during a summer in Southern California, and I never forgot the melody or lyrics. Or the brand of perfume.
From the YouTube description:
The finger-popping jazzy tune is a cross between a nightclub or Vegas lounge number, and elevator music. The “Kinda hip kinda now” and “wow” hipster jive talk was funny to me, even then, I knew it was cornball, but not without charm. It recalls the Smothers Brothers, Carol Burnett, Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In era. When Dean Martin and Doris Day records were in the Columbia Record Club magazine ads right next to The Lovin’ Spoonful, Donovan, Cat Stevens, The Carpenters, and Led Zepplin.
If getting into your head is the objective in advertising, then the ad worked. This Revlon commercial conveyed sophistication. The name of the perfume, “Charlie” seemed fresh, inventive.