Cosmetic Advert is here and there

When I walk into the MTR station, advertisement can be seen on the wall or at the platform and even inside the carriage. From my observation, out of a half advisements are about slimming and cosmetic. Famous TV artist, singer or film stars are in the poster and they have perfect body ship and complexion. While looking at them, it makes me feel bad about myself: Am I look retard? Am I fat? Do I need a facial treatment also?

In the chapter “Information everywhere”, we know that there are too much data available to us nowadays, in order to avoid overloading of data, we need to be clever enough to choose useful data and make it become information and knowledge. However, it is not easy to filter out useless data in a sophisticated city, like Hong Kong, as advertisements are following you anywhere you go.

Advertising is kind of data that confuse people, we don’t come to find advertising, adverts come to find you, and you have no where to hide from them. Adverts are interconnected with media, we see them in the TV, hear them in the radio, receive cold calls, get spam mails in your e-mail box and they are on your Facebook page too. As I have mentioned at the beginning, cosmetic adverts are most prevalent. According to the study by the University of the Basque Country, the respondents who tried the cosmetic products feel good through the perception of ‘caring for oneself’ and removing feelings of worry and guilt about not taking care of one’s appearance. Ironically, to achieve this effect, the brand must first make the consumers have negative feeling about their appearance first. The brands do it subtly in the advertisement, by telling you that how ugly you are. I am going to share you with some advert that was banned and make use of critical literacies to analyze the implication behind advert.


Natalie Portman is used in Miss Dior perfume advert, and also is the mascara advert. Unluckily, the later one is banned in UK, saying that the eyelashes of Natalie Portman is retouched and exaggerated.
Natalie Portman is the main character of Black Swan, and it has something to do that Dior chose her for all new lines product advertising. First, the advertising agency presume that the consumer know her as an elegant and charming film star. Second, they make an intertextual connection between the mascara and Natalie Portman “If you use this, you can have that charming eyes like Natalie!”
Third, the ad boasts “the miracle of a nano brush for an unrivaled lash creator effect. It delivers spectacular volume-multiplying effect, lash by lash”, unrivaled lash creator effect? The word “Creator” somehow is making comparison with other brands, and Dior is the best among them.



It is interesting that even in Asia, mascara advert usually have western model only. I think it is making use of the obsession of western look from Asian.


The advert boasts here is making a sense of scientific. Here, the advert makes a logical connection: DNA research = Product= Beauty. The ideology that DNA research is a professional knowledge is the selling point; furthermore, “it’s your DNA” this create the sense of closeness with the consumer by addressing her/him directly and also the uniqueness of the product.


YouTube is another platform for advertising. If a YouTuber is popular enough, YouTube may send him/her an invitation that they want to insert an advert in the video and the YouTube will pay for the advert. Beauty channel is one of the most popular channels in YouTube and some famous YouTubers have advert in their video and the advert will be shown before the video start.

The Source of the advert come from the brand, and what they are doing is making connection between the YouTuber and the brand, trying to create a sense that the Youtuber like that brand and they use the products from that brand. Another way to promote the brand is that they will send the product to the Blogger and ask them to comment on the product in their sharing. You can see that there are agendas in advertisement through the ideational function of language and image. The brand and the advertising agency want to “implement” their agendas into consumer mind so as to boost the sales.

I know it may be a bit out focus in this entry but I also want to point out the attention exchange relationship between the Blogger/ YouTubers and the brand. According to Micheal Goldhaber, we are living in an attention economy, where value is created from the exchange of attention and what matters is seeking, obtaining and paying attention. The Blogger get attention form the viewer and the attention is sold to the cosmetic brand, this kind of attention exchange is common nowadays as the Blog and YouTube offer a sharing channel which allows ordinary people to get attention from the public. Internet provides us various ways to get attention, but in such situation, it’s not easy to get most of the attention from public and being attended for long, that’s why Micheal Goldhaber said that winner is the one who can get and manage attention.


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