Saturday, January 22, 2011

Ads For Proactive Solution Insult Your Intelligence

I have to speak out about this. Proactiv Solution commercials totally insult the public's intelligence! Maybe I'm just noticing this because I've become so interested in AMC's Mad Men, a show about an ad agency - but I have been paying a lot more attention to ads lately, particularly those that use ridiculous tactics.

Ads for Proactiv Solution feature celebrity endorsement, but it’s clear that the endorsements are scripted in such a way that they specifically use and rely on the public’s perception of that celebrity – even if those perceptions are false. It’s as if Proactiv Solution knows that many people identify celebrities with the characters they play and their portrayals in the media, and thus assumes that everyone is ignorant enough to do so.

For example, one ad features actress Jenna Fischer who plays receptionist Pam Beasley on NBC’s The Office. Her character is one who works nine to five, Monday through Friday at a desk in an office. Her character is one who has to get up early, get ready, drive to work and be there at a specific time just like many average working people. Now, I’m not saying that actors and actresses don’t have to do this as well while they are filming, but I think their schedules might be a tad different than average people.
If you watch her Proactiv Solution commercial below, you will see that Jenna Fischer emphasizes the time she has had to spend in the morning concealing her acne. I find this odd since it implies that she has a regular nine to five, year-round job that she has to wake up early to get to. She’s an actress ... even if she does have to wake up early to get to her job, there is a make-up artist at the set who puts make-up on for her when she gets there ... she wouldn't even be putting on her own make-up!

It's clear to me that Proactiv Solution assumes that the public will see the receptionist Pam Beasley from Dunder Mifflin rather than the actual actress who plays her, and is actually counting on the public to have such a misconception in order for their ad to work!

So far, I think every annoying Proactiv Solution commercial has done this, however subtle.

For example, one version with singer Avril Lavigne states that she "doesn't let acne push her around." Of course she doesn't! She's wearing a leather jacket in this ad, so obviously she's really tough! Even people who don't know much about her know that she's been seen in "tomboyish" and punk clothing, which people probably associate with nonconformity, boldness, and toughness.

Usually when companies use celebrity endorsements, it seems like they aim the ad at fans who might wish to be like those celebrities, and thus people who know a little bit about that celebrity. Proactiv is doing the opposite. The ads are geared to everyone, so they rely on assumptions the public makes about specific celebrities due to their portrayals in the media, the characters they play, the clothes they wear, or the way they appear in magazines.

Bottom Line: I've been somewhat curious to try Proactiv Solution myself but every time I see one of their commercials I realize I can't bring myself to give money to a company that assumes I'm stupid enough to associate celebrities with stereotypes.

1 comment:

  1. ya when they first came out with their product, i felt a little calm and cool about it until Katy Perry Jessica Simpsons and so on started to appear and i felt like wow well maybe it isn't credible enough for me.