Easy, Breezy, Beautiful Covergirl

While Covergirl is well-known for the slogan Easy, Breezy, Beautiful Covergirl, animal activists are working to alter how individuals think of this saying and have created a slogan of their own: Sleezy, Nasty, Cruel Covergirl. Covergirl is not the only cosmetics company to use animal testing; other big brands such as L’Oreal, Maybelline, Revlon, and Rimmel London also test on animals. Through the use of anti-branding campaigns, activists or “pranksters” work to re-contextualize the original meaning of an advertisement. In some of the Covergirl ads animCompanies-That-Do-Test-On-Animals-PETA-new-768x768als have replaced Covergirl models and models have been portray with harmful side effects—presumably from cosmetic testing; images used to condemn the use of animal testing. In the same way Jonah Pertetti email exchange foregrounded Nike’s use of sweatshop workers, the Covergirl ads bring attention to animal testing and direct ridicule to the Company’s Policies (Proctor and Gambles).

 

PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) is the largest animal rights organization ,that’s goal is to end animal cruelty. PETA uses various ‘culture jamming’ methods (or protest campaigns) to expose the cruel treatment of animals. PETA is widely known for their shocking imagery and videos that work to draw negative attention to the real campaigns through their use of fictional ads. According to PETA,

“although more than 1,700 companies have banned all animal tests, some corporations still force substances into animals’ stomachs and drip chemicals into rabbits’ eyes. These tests are not required by law, and they often produce inaccurate or misleading results—even if a product has blinded an animal, it can still be marketed to you.”

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PETA has over 5 million members, however this large following and the success of PETA’s campaigns are highly reliant on the revolutionary potential of mass media. Mass media and communication networks have had an enormous role in supporting culture jamming networks. While Pertetti “sweatshop” shoe order was never completed, his email exchange with Nike took on a life of its own through the power of media ecology. Pertetti stated that media ecology transformed his private email into a global affair and facilitated his connection with an entire community of individuals passionate about the same issue.

In Pranking Rhetoric: “Culture Jamming” as Media Activism, Christine Harold states that these pranks can “pose a “direct challenge to all verbal and behavioral routines, and [undermine] the sovereign authority of words, language, visual images, and social conventionsbunny.jpg in general.” Contemporary commercial culture depends upon consumers having somewhat routinized responses to words and images; however, these responses need not be completely homogenous” (Harold). Therefore, culture jamming can foster the production of new discourses and work to unite individuals interested in a common cause together. These acts become powerful resources of intervention into “the complex world of commercial discourse,” and allow for emerging new discourses to be formed (Harold).

 

To check out a list of cruelty-free drug store products visit: Crueltyfreekitty 

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3 Comments

  1. This is so interesting and sad. I wonder is this is a gendered thing (considering that make up is generally advertised and sold to women), because until recently when a cohort-member told me that make up products are commonly tested on animals, it was the first time I had ever really heard of it.

    I’m curious if the peta ads that détourne the make up industry had more information -if they would be more or less effective? There isn’t much information in the poster in this post, and I’m curious how effective it would be to the uninformed passerby (like me). I know that peta is infamous for their provocative work, but I’m curious about how publicly disseminated ads like these are, and if more posters really is better, or if a more informational spin would be better?

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  2. This reminds me of the Chinese M.A.C. production you mentioned a couple weeks ago. It is cruel to see animal testing for ordinary cosmetics in Chinese manufactories. However, the Be Cruelty-Free China campaign run by Humane Society International’s Beijing team put years of effort to change this testing rule in China.

    This article (http://www.hsi.org/news/press_releases/2014/06/china-implements-rule-change-063014.html) states that hundreds of thousand rabbits, guinea-pigs, mice and other animals have, been used to test cosmetics every year. During cosmetics testing, animals can have chemicals dripped in their eyes, spread on their skin or force-fed to them in massive, lethal doses. As well as causing animal suffering, many of these tests are notoriously unreliable in predicting real chemical reactions in people.

    Before 2016, the Chinese law requires mandatory animal testing on all cosmetics products that are manufactured outside of China and within the country. However, in November 2016, PETA.org announced that “Chinese government officials have stated that they will soon, for the first time ever, be recognizing data from a completely non-animal test method for safety evaluations of cosmetics. Currently, the Chinese government requires cosmetics companies to pay for cruel tests on animals in order to sell imported and special-use cosmetics in China – a practice PETA exposed in 2012.” This is a significant victory for PETA to convince China to approve first non-animal cosmetics test. Hopefully, the change doesn’t stop here and continue impact Chinese cosmetic market to reconsider testing on animals.

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  3. Good point. I definitely agree that peta’s cosmetic ads includes very minimal content, although they do circulate videos and articles along with thier poster ads that provide more information. However, penetrating this information places the agency on the individual and may remove the effectiveness of ad detournment. As you mentioned, a passerby may disreagard the ad due the lack of connection it produces with its audience.

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