The advertisement chosen is one sponsored by a Japanese skincare company Shiseido promoting their skincare products – White Lucent Intensive Spot Targeting Serum and Power Brightening Mask. This print ad was produced in 2012 and had been published on magazines and billboards across Asia, as well as some of the most popular cosmetic-related forum websites. Shiseido is the fourth-largest cosmetics company in the world by sales and has been one of the most prominent brands in Asia (“Japan’s Shiseido Agrees to Acquire Bare Escentuals”, WSJ.com). The company has been marketing heavily through TV commercials, magazine print ads, billboards, as well as other interactive advertising channels in Asia.
While it is more desirable to have the sun-kissed skin tone in the western countries, Asia women tend to opt for a more fair skin tone. Such preference is a result of the agricultural history in Asia. Back in the days, peasants usually have a darker skin tone due to their prolonged exposure to the sun, whereas the rich would have a more fair skin tone as they do not have to work outdoors. Therefore, fair skin tone has been associated with people from better backgrounds, and this belief is still affecting purchasing behavior in Asia nowadays.
The product featured in this ad is said to “enhance clarity and radiance for flawless, perfectly even-toned skin” (Shiseido, n.d.). The said effect is exemplified in the ad with the halo effect around the model’s face, which looks like her skin is glowing. In addition, the marketers also use employ certain keywords to emphasize the effectiveness of the products, including “ultimate”, “crush” and “eject”.
The special effect on the image, as well as the choice of words, both serve to create a demand and set unrealistic expectations for the said products. First, the tagline “the ultimate pair for the ultimately spotless white skin”. The word “spotless” is usually associated with clean, and therefore transmit the message to the audience that if you have pigments on your skin, you must deal with it immediately as if you have a stain on your couch. In addition, the double “ultimate” in the tagline is used to convince the audience that this product will be able to solve all the problems.
Secondly, the words “crush” and “eject” are also sending a wrong concept to its audience. Dark spots are a natural reaction of the skin to the environment, and they cannot be completely removed except with surgery. Skincare products can only lower the intensity of the pigmentation and allow it to fade and even out with skin around it (MD-Health, n.d.). The manufacturing company and the marketers should be well aware of that fact, and they are merely manipulating the audiences’ belief to treat the dark spot as if it is an enemy, in order to raise the need for the featured products.
In conclusion, the advertisement presented here aim to promote the dark spot removal products by intensifying Asian women’s preference of a fair skin tone to the level of combating an enemy that must be eliminated at once.
“Japan’s Shiseido Agrees to Acquire Bare Escentuals” – Retrieved from: http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052748704363504575003844097292162?mg=reno64-wsj&url=http%3A%2F%2Fonline.wsj.com%2Farticle%2FSB10001424052748704363504575003844097292162.html
Shiseido White Lucent Intensive Spot Targeting Serum – Retrieved from:
Dark Spots on Face, MD-Health.com – Retrieved from: