Being totally honest with the public can be dangerous. It didn’t
work for Ratners (’Our earrings are crap’). It didn’t work for the
Tories (’Yes it hurt, yes it worked’). So will it work for The Body
Their latest campaign - to inject some reality into the beauty industry
- boasts no pseudo-scientific babble about AHAs and liposites and no
claims about beauty and desirability. Just moisturisers that
moisturise ... and a fat plastic doll promoting them.
The Body Shop’s ’reality’ stance is founded on sound enough facts.
Cosmetics companies blind us with science. Glamorous magazines glorify
images bordering on the anorexic. Thin is in, fat’s not where it’s at.
No matter how commendable The Body Shop’s stance, may be that’s just how
we like it.
As Vogue editor, Alexandra Shulman, said in the Times last week: ’I
don’t think ... readers want to see fat women. Women don’t want to open
the pages and see themselves.’ It’s unfair. It may even be prejudiced.
But it’s life. Magazines awash with images of pre-pubescent anorexics
wearing maximum make-up and minimum clothing sell by the million. And
therein lies the problem.
Like tobacco and alcohol, we like the things that are bad for us. We
know Naomi and Linda represent the ideal, not the real. But we don’t
really care. If we did, we’d vote with our wallets and Vogue would take
Deep down we’re all hooked on glamour.
Although Anita Roddick’s campaign fits in perfectly with her company’s
counter-culture history - Roddick has built her business on doing the
opposite to her competitors -it’s more about brand positioning than
increasing stagnant sales. Heartfelt and passionate, it’s bloody good
PR. But it won’t make me buy strawberry bath bubbles and oatmeal face
Why? The Body Shop’s new campaign is commendable yes, inviting no. I
want beauty products that blind me with science, fawn at my vanity and
promise me the impossible. It’s that ’G’ word again - glamour. Think
L’Oreal, think Jennifer Aniston. Think Estee Lauder, think Liz Hurley.
Think Body Shop, think Ronseal.
’Why Ronseal?’ you ask. Funny smell, boring bottle, ’does exactly what
it says on the tin’.
Now there’s a honesty campaign that really worked!