Kudos to Maybelline

Friday, March 13, 2009

Flipping through the April issue of Glamour magazine this morning I saw something in an ad that made me happy. Thank you Maybelline for offering a full range of skin colors in your liquid mousse foundation samples. I've always been turned off when I see the ads with samples attached that are of zero use to me.

If I can't try something before I buy it, I'm not going to bother. I've been there, done that with buying makeup, trying it at home and getting frustrated when it doesn't match my skin tone.To be perfectly honest, I don't wear "drugstore" cosmetics like Maybelline and Covergirl is for this exact reason. I have a feeling I'm not alone. So kudos to you for at least giving me the option.

I shouldn't have to subscribe to Ebony or Essence magazines to find the latest trends in skincare and makeup and try them on. It's exclusionary, plain and simple. I get that magazines spend thousands of dollars in research to determine who their target audience is. And, I get that makeup companies want to put their product samples into the hands of someone most likely to buy them. But, perhaps cosmetics companies should spend some of those dollars to find out who's NOT buying, and why.


  1. Let me say upfront that I agree with you. Magazines for women should be magazines for women. Period.

    But I have to pose the following. Let's say I wrote this about Essence. Would you agree?

  2. Yes and no. The ad is for a specific product, foundation, that is available in all ranges of skin tones. It seems that including the sample pull out thingy should be easy no matte what magazine it goes in.

    However, something like an eyeshadow is not appropriate for all skin tones so tailoring the sample would be necessary if it's in a magazine like Essence.

    Plus, in my mind, Essence is a specialty or niche magazine while titles like Glamour, Redbook and Elle are "mainstream" and designed to reach a much broader audience.

    I hope I explained that well. LOL!

  3. Those samples still cost money to make. I'm sure every color they add adds to the price of putting that in the magazine. And when you're putting that sample in a magazine typically marketed to well-to-do white women, does it make sense financially to include other colors? IDK. I don't know the statistics on Glamour's demographic or the research Maybelline did.

    What I'm trying to ask is when it's okay for a magazine (and its advertisers) to recognize their demographic is mostly comprised of white readers? Is it EVER okay for a magazine to acknowledge that its readers are primarily white?

    And if it's not okay for a magazine to acknowledge that, how is it okay for a magazine like Essence to acknowledge and target black women/women of color? How is that any different, in principle, than acknowledging a white demographic?

    (FTR, I understand why Essence et al are there - there was a niche that needed filled. They stepped in to fill it. I'm good with that. I like capitalism. However, to say that it's okay for one magazine to cater to a particular demographic while saying another magazine is exclusionary for doing so seems hypocritical to me.)

  4. I think the stupidity of selling "drug store" make-up without being able to sample your shade is indeed non-productive and stupid.

    I rarely buy (or get sucked into) the typical base coat until I can sample it next to my skin.

  5. Mel, I agree with you. I hate that companies assume that because I look a certain way I must be reading a certain magazine. I, like you buy mainstream reading material and would like to feel as if I am part of the mainstream.

    Steph- I think comparing Essence to Glamour is an unequal comparison. Essence is, like Mel said, a niche magazine- it is for People of Color. However, Glamour is for all women who like to be glamorous. I think it is fair to say that women of all shades and skin tones may want to feel this way. Why not include different kinds of samples? Wouldn't that increase their marketing range thus increasing their profits? Adding makeup for white women in Essence is not smart business- it's like adding ads for an Ocean Spray in a Wine Taster's magazine.


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