Monday, August 25, 2008
The slogan of L'Oreal, the smellies, face paint and hair soap company, is 'Because you're worth it.' The slogan of the environmental movement is, to a rough approximation, 'Oh no you're not.' Which makes it all the stranger that L'Oreal owns Body Shop. Now, under this ethically contradictory ownership, Body Shop is going to advertise globally for the first time. This is a bad move, partly because it will draw attention to L'Oreal's animal testing etc and partly because I am now convinced that advertising does not work. This came to me while watching an American TV ad for a bank that had merged with another bank. The ad said that 'with' was a wonderful word and, therefore, Bank A being 'with' Bank B was a good thing. This was deliriously stupid. But inventing a virtue and attaching it to any old random product is now a standard advertising trope. Its prevalence means that it cannot possibly be effective. A slogan that said simply, 'Bank A and Bank B have merged' would be cheaper and more helpful. Body Shop did not need advertising because it was itself an ad, its message was an important as its products. Now it's 'core values' are to be flaunted and will, as result, end up being no more persuasive than the idea that 'with' is a word possessed of intrinsic virtue.
Posted by Bryan Appleyard at 8:25 am