the rappler-pantene partnership: beauty deception part 2

I am re-listening to the talks and re-reading through much of what’s been written for #WhipIt. What offends me most about it really is the carelessness, the lack of vision, in having these discussions at all. There is a survey upon which all of this is based, yes. But the survey in itself and the discussions had were so limited by the fact of a shampoo brand being part of it at all.

It was a waste. Because there were plenty of opportunities to go deeper into issues, especially with someone like G. Toengi, who had dared talk about the superficiality of the showbiz industry, or given audience members who raised the question of class differences at that first #WhipIt talk.

But having deeper discussions is not the point here. It cannot be the point. This is advertising for Pantene through and through, the discussion on gender equality and woman empowerment is secondary. Pantene is the sponsor. The sponsor is king. Woman empowerment comes after brand buzz and product sales if at all. Rappler proves yet again how it does not know to care for being a credible media institution.

And its greatest undoing: the recent advertisement for #WhipIt has Kris Aquino, front and center. In her Met-tathione and Olay age-defied and whitened skin, her Belo-fied body, her fully made-up face and glittering outfit. The Presidential sister talks about being opinyonada, and equates this with “her right to speak her mind” and woman power.

Rappler.com is the byline for a sponsored piece on this advertisement, where they talk about how Kris “is called opinionated as if having opinions and speaking them is disgraceful for a woman <…>.” They miss the point entirely. Aquino uses her opinions to sell every beauty product that is about being white and thin, with shiny hair and expensive clothes. She raises people’s needs, by selling every home product imaginable. She is the queen of endorsements, and as such can only be the queen of superficiality.

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