It has been found that overall, the beauty industry has a significant effect on a woman’s self-esteem, body image, and perception of beauty. Using upward comparisons, women are constantly comparing themselves to the standards of beauty that society shows to them. Advertisements lead to more purchases of cosmetics as women feel less confident after watching these ads. Women use cosmetics for personal reasons, for increasing self-worth, to look beautiful, and for appreciation. Women and girls compare themselves to these images every day. 2009 Maybelline cosmetic ad reflects this ideology by promoting their product called “Dream Liquid Mousse.” The narrator in the ad says that it will make the customer’s skin appear pore-free and highly desired and envied by others. In comparison to the general trend of advertisements, this ad does not use the second-person pronoun “you” to attract consumer’s attention. Instead, it creates leverage to advertise their product from already existing beauty standards for women. Therefore, the Maybelline Commercial for “Dream Liquid Mousse” takes advantage of current beauty ideals through narration techniques and choice of words.
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For example, the product’s title perpetuates the idea that poreless skin is a universal “dream” that should and can be achieved with its product. This positions skin with visible pores as an undesirable trait or a problem that a consumer can solve. Moreover, the tone used in the ad can be interpreted as giving out the solution to the “problem skin”: “One hundred percent poreless perfection has arrived” (“Dream Liquid Mousse,” 00:00:02-00:00:05). Therefore, in the first eight seconds, the commercial manages to set their aim towards their consumers and advertise their product and promote the idea that flawless skin should be wanted. It can cause the consumer to feel less beautiful because of their unaltered appearance. Thus, the ad quickly positions the set of rules for their customer that the desire for perfect skin is universal and ordinary, and skin with visible pores is something that women need to avoid. Maybelline prioritizes aesthetics, imposing their significance onto their clients.
The following line in the ad develops the previously given message; however, this time, it tries to evoke the viewer’s senses. The narrator says: “A new liquid sensation that’s air-whipped for one hundred percent poreless perfection” (“Dream Liquid Mousse,” 00:00:08-00:00:12). The line highlights the chemical qualities of the product, the emotion associated with the product, and what result the application of the product brings. It is no longer only about the aesthetical value of the flawless skin that comes with the mousse; it is also about the excitement and enjoyment of the product. The word “sensation” implies that the product is capable of bringing joy to the customer. Therefore, the ad reiterates that flawless, poreless skin should be celebrated and enjoyed. The narrator also says the phrase “prove it,” calling the customer to action (“Dream Liquid Mousse,” 00:00:13). This phrase simultaneously tells the customers what to do and gives them a sense of agency that they should feel liberated in using the product, making their tone more appealing and empowering to the audience.
Finally, the last ten seconds repeat the same sentiment about the perfect skin that comes with the mousse and ends with the company’s slogan. The commercial’s narrator compares the mousse to other similar products on the market, pointing out that the Maybelline mousse is the best. Furthermore, they explain the achieved result after using the mousse by drawing the analogy with a painting technique used in non-makeup art and craft: “Pores vanish; skin looks smoother, perfect like it’s been airbrushed” (“Dream Liquid Mousse,” 00:00:18-00:00:21). Airbrushing can also be referred to as an effect in graphics editing software, such as Photoshop, where the editor makes a texture appear smoother on an image. In other words, the ad normalizes the usage of makeup to enhance women’s appearance even if this appearance cannot be acquired any other way. Therefore, what the commercial essentially does is that it highlights the product’s exclusiveness as the only realistic way to have a dream skin; otherwise, the poreless skin can be achieved through graphics redactors and other computer software.
In conclusion, the analysis of the Maybelline ad for their “Dream Liquid Mousse” product showed what negative thoughts this video could potentially provoke in its viewer. It does so by manipulating the language in the commercial to appeal to their female audience, convince them into buying their product, and positioning it as a necessity. In other words, the ad utilizes the customers’ insecurities about their skin, such as visible pores, and weaponizes these insecurities against them to promote their product. Despite that the narration recognizes the inability to achieve poreless and flawless skin in a natural way without the Maybelline product; however, it also manages to perpetuate these unrealistic standards to women. Therefore, it is crucial for the consumers to analyze the sincerity of commercials and their drive to sell the product, even if it means supporting the ideology aimed to thrive on women’s insecurities.
“NEW Dream Liquid Mousse – Maybelline Commercial – Adriana Lima [HD].” YouTube, uploaded by IAmLikeanOnion, 2009.