Friday, October 22, 2010

Real Charity:
An OutInAPout Editorial Opinion

For those of you that read any number of other beauty blogs, or follow certain bloggers or YouTubers on Twitter, you've no doubt heard that today Lancome is "celebrating" what they're calling "Genes Day". If you follow me on Twitter, you already know my opinion on the subject, so you have my permission to skip this post- or add your thoughts to the comments!

Today, October 22nd, Lancome is having a one day fund-raiser to benefit St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. The company is donating $7 from the sale of every bottle of it's Génifique Youth Activating Concentrate to the hospital- so nice of Lancome, right?

Maybe, maybe not. Génifique retails for $78. In my experience, this means that the company pays maybe $15 cost on the item, meaning that Lancome is really only giving about 11% of ONE product's proceeds to charity. Their commitment is no less than $100,000. A lot of dough for you and me, but really, it's a pretty paltry sum for a brand who's parent company netted $1.66 billion (yes, billion with a "B") in just the first half of this year. That's like taking $16,000 out of your wallet to dig out a penny for the guy on the corner with a cup.

When it comes down to it, this "fundraiser" is merely a marketing gag. Lancome is hoping to rope in new clientele under the guise of charity and profit from it. Génifique is what many companies call a "wow product"- its instant "results" (in this case, the silky feel resulting from Génifique's high concentration of cheap, run-of-the-mill dimethicone) "wow" the client into interest without much care about the product's long term effects. In short- if they can get it on your hand, chances are good you'll buy it just because it feels nice. Add in the false sense of benevolence at the idea of "shopping for charity" and sales soar! Now, I know I have readers that love this product; if you like the product and use it anyway, stock up on your bottle today and pat yourself on the back! However, the idea of using charity as a promotional stunt kind of makes me want to gag.

If you're feeling charitable and are in the market for an anti-aging serum, I say buy Olay Regenerist Serum. For under $20 you'll get a comparable, if not more effective, treatment. Then take the $60 you saved and donate that to which ever charity you want! Remember, you can give to charity any day of the year.


Musing on Beauty said...

Great article Jess! I see it like this: companies exist to make profit, and any corporate social responsibility program is a marketing action (and I'm in the marketing field, so I know what I'm talking about.) Mac Viva Glam? Same thing.
On the other hand, the money these companies raised for charities is an important revenue for these charities and they need it. So I'm thinking ok, if the marketing can bring some money to a good cause, let's be a bit cynical and play the game.
But well, as you said, you can also pick a cheaper efficient version and give more money to the charity yourself, that's even better :-)

Unknown said...

At least MAC gives all profits for Viva Glam to charity, to my knowledge. Not just what I see as a token percentage. Of course, you're right about the revenue being vital to these charities, but as consumers, and personally as a blogger with whatever meager influence I may have, I feel like we need to push these companies to do more. Why not all give all Génifique proceeds from today to charity- it would still be only a portion of ONE day's profits.

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