What’s the first thing you think of when you see someone like actress Sarah Jessica Parker hawking at-home hair color? Me? “Yeah, right.” Garnier Nutrisse may indeed be easy to use and color all those pesky grays, but I find it slightly hard to believe that SJP colors her own hair in the privacy of her home using a $7 box from her local pharmacy. Just sayin…
Ms. Parker, best known for portraying the effervescent and popular Carrie Bradshaw in the “Sex and the City” franchise, is not alone. Do new Hollywood “it girls” Zooey Deschanel and Emma Stone really use the Pantene hair products and Revlon make-up they each promote in television and print ads? Maybe they do, but maybe they don’t. What about Hollywood heavyweights Jennifer Lopez and Halle Barry who have appeared in numerous L’Oreal and Revlon advertisements, again respectively? My guess would be no, but again, I have no proof.
To be sure, some contracts do reportedly require celebrities to wear or use products they endorse but they may also be allowed to pick and choose particular items rather than an entire line. Other than the hair color ads, the ones that really unnerve me are the mascara ads. They really make me want to lash out!
Fuller. Plumper. 100 times longer. More volume. Curl-enhancing. These are just some of the claims mascaras of every brand hope to convince you of. If you use them, your lashes are said to look fuller and longer through the use of flat brushes, yellow brushes, jumbo brushes…wands of every make and style. Do they really make a difference, especially if you aren’t blessed with good lashes to begin with? Have you shopped for mascara lately? There must be 100 different choices and, in my opinion, way too many. I’ve used my trusty and traditional Maybelline mascara for as long as I can remember and prefer it over any high-priced or glam-brand styles I’ve gotten in “gift with purchase” promotions. If I had to choose a new one I think I’d suffer from some serious anxiety just considering the plethora of choices. Does the world really need so many mascara varieties claiming so many miracles?
Are there responsibilities regarding truth in advertising in cases like these and others? There have been instances of some big-name cosmetic companies being called out for falsifying information in their mascara ads. To most readers, photos used in mascara ads clearly utilize eyelash extensions however, many include small – very small – print disclaimers that lash inserts are used prior to use of the mascara. My question is, if their products are so wonderful, why do they have to be enhanced with false lashes? Also, rather than using models with less than enviable natural lashes, why not use people like my daughter Kristen who were born with long eyelashes? I’m not saying Kristen is model material, but her eyelashes certainly are!
According to “Beneath the Brand’s” Rosann Fisher, there are several reasons companies might choose to use a celebrity to endorse one of their products. First is to launch a new brand, followed by reinforcing an existing brand and then repositioning an established brand. Who they chose to recommend use of their products is also carefully analyzed. Factors considered most valuable include the star’s credibility followed by his or her attractiveness and power.
One celeb I find somewhat credible and very likeable is L’Oreal’s Andie MacDowell. The former model and one-time actress endorses everything from the company’s Superior Preference hair color to Visible Line make-up to Line Eraser skin care. Does she really use them all? I’m not sure, but at least one website calls the Natural Medium Brown 5 shade “Andie MacDowell’s signature shade.”
Short of asking Ms. MacDowell personally, I may never know the black and white truth of which personally-endorsed products she or any celeb actually uses. Maybe the truth isn’t so black and white, and is instead somewhere in the “grays.”