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ChangingMinds Blog! > Blog Archive > 02-Mar-06


Friday 02-March-07

Wrinkle-free adverts

One of the biggest growth industries at the moment is anything that staves off the appearance of old age. As the boomers hit their forties, fifties and more, the generation that established the power of youth in the 1960s are staring oblivion in the face, as evidenced in the terrifying reflection they see in the mirror each day.

Wrinkles are a sign of impending mortality. They separate old people from young people. They mark you as no longer beautiful. To be a wrinkly is to be irreversibly old -- well until recently, that is. For those who cannot afford or face plastic surgery, the skin-care industry has come up with a wonderful alternative -- the 'anti-ageing cream'. There are even website dedicated to helping you choose which cream to use, such as Wrinkle Cream Guide and The Best Wrinkle Cream.

The principle is magically simple: just trowel on the cream and hey-presto, no more wrinkles. Well, not quite that magical as you have to keep using the cream for the effect to set in. And of course it doesn't come cheap. Does it work? I have no idea. I don't use it myself. I'd rather claim that wrinkles make me look kindly and wise.

Oil of Ulay (a curiously dated name, but so well-known they can't change it) have always been into 'looking young' and are milking this trend for all they are worth. Their 'Regenerist' range (what a wonderful name!) make it sound very scientific, talking about Peptides and stuff, and offer you a whole range of products to use all over and at all times.

Anyway, what got me ranting about this was a wonderfully strapline used in a Ulay advert just now on TV:

'If you're not ready for wrinkles, you are ready for First Effects'.

Am I ready for wrinkles? Probably not, because I've not really thought about them. But this means I am ready for the Ulay product. Oho! I must rush out and buy some.

The pattern used here is:

'If ...<something you will agree with>...then you...<something I want you to do>.'

A common variant is 'If you love me, then you will XXX'. This is often called emotional blackmail, which is perhaps a strong term, but the wrinkle-free advert could be equated with this. The implicit threat is 'If you do not use our cream, you will be wrinkly, which is bad, so you will bad and shunned.'

Curiously, this is just at a time when ageist legislation has just been enacted in the UK, and people are being warned against giving birthday cards in the office where jokes about age could lead to damaging litigation.

For goodness sake! Age happens. Closing our collective eyes will only lead to us falling over, which is another thing that happens more when you're older -- will they devise a cream for this too?

Your comments

I understand your positions thoroughly. Though its not just the older society. I work with teenage boys and they fall for these tricks all the time.

They become so overwhelmed with all the things around them that they have forgotten who they are.

I just thought this up:

'The tornados of our useless worries,
destroy our villages of useful knowledge.'

-- Justin Gallant

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