It’s that time of year when magazines a plenty are coercing us into voting for brands we’ve never heard of, on websites we’ve never seen, for prizes we’re unlikely to get our mitts on.
Vote for us and our green eco-forward sack cloth range cry the Eco Gnomes of Zurich.
Vote for us and our nano-oxy-toxy-poxy anti-ageing serum shrieks a European company nobody has heard of (although obviously the Daily Mail will have run a full page article about it (i.e. it’s actually advertorial written by a marginally less wrinkly journalist).
|If Beyonce wears it, will you vote for it?|
Is it me or are the voting mechanisms for these awards rather, well, biased?
Anyone can vote and select items from ranges they’ve never used in the hope of winning the odd £50 of products.
How is this fair?
Let’s be honest.
There’s a very, very simple way of judging the top products in most sectors, not least in the Beauty Industry.
Release details of your annual sales.
Let’s see what percentage of the market you hold and whether it’s gone up this year.
Let’s see how many patents you hold.
Let’s see some accredited medical /scientific research that proves your products work – based on samples of MORE than 25 women (yes I know the arguments for the benefits of sampling and Qualitative Market Research and I’m not convinced) done over a reasonable time span (i.e. years rather than after using three sachets and filling in a questionnaire).
The Beauty Industry, like many others, is very clever at swathing fact with layers of multi-coloured (or is that multi-tonal) fiction.
An industry that relies heavily on airbrushing to sell its products is never likely to be particularly forthcoming with the unsexy nuts and bolts of marketing performance, is it?
In fact the current trend seems to be to promote the packaging rather than the products (Benefit, Urban Decay, No 7, No 17).
After all, how many red lipsticks can you manufacture and how different can they be?
I love beauty products; always have, always will and I find the older I get, the more brand loyal I get.
I’m unlikely to be swayed by freebies, twee boxes, samples or this season’s palette.
Because, you know what (and whisper this carefully), lots of the products out there aren’t actually very good.
The same handful of names tend to win these awards because they ARE consistently good (e.g. Liz Earle’s Cleanse & Polish, Elizabeth Arden’s Eight Hour Cream, Yves St Laurent’s Touche Eclat) and their sales figures have elevated them to a practically untouchable status in terms of branding.
So, in the meantime, let’s at least acknowledge that ‘awards’ are, at best an good way of raising brand awareness and at worst, cheap and ineffective PR.
It’s more, one suspects, about securing advertising revenue for the next sales quarter (particularly at Christmas which is absolutely critical in terms of sales for many businesses), than it is about discovering which of the many millions of red lippies available I may or may not shell out for.
And you can be sure that, as a woman of 50 with many years’ experience of using make-up under my belt, when I find a cosmetic ‘superstar’, I’ll be reviewing it on this blog.