I have had it with the commercials for “clearer skin” that advertise anti-acne creams and medicines. Every single one of them is the same, and every single one of them sucks. All I want to do is watch “The Gauntlet III” in peace when every 10 minutes my show is interrupted by someone reminding me how many pimples are on my face. They then tell me that they have an acne treatment that no one has ever thought of before and that they could possibly be fired for revealing the company’s deep secret to clearer skin. The worst part is that even though every company is preaching the same crap to force kids into self-consciousness, they all do it through different—yet equally annoying—advertising strategies.
First, we have the commercials that trick you into believing they’re the best because before they even say anything they feed you with easily-obtained facts.
“Eating chocolate makes you break out . . . FALSE!!”
“Washing your skin every day prevents break outs . . . FALSE!!”
This advertising strategy is the same approach “Bill Nye the Science Guy” took in his television show. The first ten minutes would be him listing facts like “Mercury is 43 million miles from the sun!” in order to gain the parent’s approval, and then the kids were forced to watch him promote Nazi genocide through, for example, chemical reactions. Similarly, these acne commercials think that if you hear reassuring facts about your skin, you’ll trust them enough to buy their face cream.
Another, funnier approach is taken by Clearasil, who uses comedy in their commercial but at the cost of legitimate information about their product. Clearasil knows that they’re dealing with teenagers who hate to be bombarded with inane things like “statistics” and “hard work,” which is why they directed their commercials in a more comedic direction. This company insisted that their face cream “may cause confidence,” a side effect that few would distrust. There are many things that cause confidence, but few that cause confidence and clear skin. To most insecure teenagers, a face cream that results in self-assurance is worth their life savings alone, and the clear skin that results with it is just an added bonus!
This advertisement approach reminds me of every single beer commercial there is. Advertisers blind alcoholic men with pictures of bikini-wearing women and unrealistic situations to the point where consumers buy the beer hoping to get laid. They think that if they drink it, their beer belly will turn into a six pack, their receding hairline will turn into a full head of hair, and they will instantly get a job. Oh yeah, and they’ll have a beer.
The last acne commercials are those of the famous Proactive Solution. Besides being the biggest buzzword in any company’s innovative meeting, “Proactive Solution” is the number one selling acne medicine in America. No, I swear, they really are, even Jessica Simpson said. Yeah she did! She was in the commercial! Remember her in “The Dukes of Hazzard”? She was so hot in that. I bet Proactive is what made her so hot.
The fact that Proactive has enough money to buy out celebrities doesn’t make them the best, it makes them the richest. And the reason they have all this money is because people think exactly what I just made fun of. They think that because P. Diddy and Jessica Simpson use it, it must be the most trusted acne medicine of its time. As proof, I have here a Proactive commercial staring Lindsey Lohan. Try to keep your eyes off her chest enough to notice the bullshit she feeds you throughout the entire commercial.
Besides Lindsey sounding like she has an entire frog colony stuck in her throat, this commercial was good. It had the upbeat, catchy music that teenagers love to listen to; it had a famous person that everyone idolizes; and it had Lohan pretending to adlib blatantly scripted lines (“I even think I keep some in my car HAHAHAHAHA!!”).My favorite part, however, was ten seconds into the commercial when Lindsey describes herself as “a normal person.” Oh yeah Lindsey, someone who has multi-million dollar movie contracts, hit albums, and an eating disorder, and a drug problem is undoubtedly a normal person. Also, it seems that the only skin problem Lohan had was one pathetic pimple on her chin. Try saying you’re a “normal person who gets zits” to a kid whose face would put a pepperoni pizza to shame. But lastly, this commercial had what every acne medicine commercial has: the universal How-We-Clean-Your-Pores diagram:
This familiar clip is put into every skin treatment commercial in America, and clearly shows everyone something that they don’t care about. Teenagers wouldn’t care if your face cream contained tiny soldiers with flame-throwers who torched the acne from your pores like the beaches of Iwo Jima. We get it: your product goes inside the pores, grabs the crap, and then magically dances out.
Another thing that all skin advertisements have is a display of “Before and After” pictures that flash across the screen. The sight of seeing a hideous pimple-faced monster transform into a decent-looking student builds the hopes of teenagers and makes them want to buy the product. Little do people know that while these pictures are being quickly thrown across the screen, a small note at the bottom reads “results will vary.” This scumbag move is all the advertisers need, and now they can fill their containers with water.
I think that since I’m sitting in front of my computer complaining against commercials, I would join the group of people (SNL, The Onion, MadTV, every other kid with a blog, etc.) who are getting angry at razor companies. For Christmas my parents got me the second season of SNL from 1976. The cast included massive names like Chevy Chase, Dan Akroid, and even John Belushi. One of my favorite skits was a spoof-razor commercial in which they advertised a razor with three blades, mocking the needlessness. To my father this was hilarious because he remembers a time when he had a single-bladed razor and was stunned by two blades, but to me it wasn’t funny. I shave with a razor with three blades, and I didn’t think it was that strange. But then the next year I hear about the Schick Quattro Razor with four blades! And recently we’ve seen the release of the Gillette Fusion razor with five blades. And what’s this? It needs batteries!? WHY THE HELL DO I NEED BATTERIES TO SHAVE?!
I’m not even going to make the joke about “a razor with 15 blades” because everyone has done it. Just know that you only need one blade to shave, and you no not need batteries. Advertisers for razors also need to calm down. Shaving is a very basic process, and the last thing people need is for you to complicate the procedure by bringing in irrelevant jargon like “Vitamin E” and “hydrating formula.” Just let me deal with my patches of awkward peach fuzz without perplexity.
And finally, since I yelled at the skin commercials for all using the same diagram, I feel obligated to warn the shaving commercials that if they don’t stop using the same “close shave” illustration I’m going to scream. I think you guys know what I’m talking about:
Each commercial has an added comment like “This fifth blade picks up missed hair follicles that the fourth one missed!!” I have an idea: How about instead of adding blades to “catch” the left over hair, we manufacture a razor that catches the entire hair on one blade. Instead, they endanger us more by forcing sharp pointy razors near the arteries in our throats.
Half of America isn’t smarter than a fifth grader, I don’t think people should need a PHD in Anatomy to cleanse their skin or shave their beards. I don’t care if you advertise the occasional face cream or razor, just lay off the clichéd illustrations and scientific terminology. I don’t know what it means when something is “hydrocronically adhesive.” I must have missed that episode of Bill Nye.