What’s the deal with this Olay ad?

Part of my ongoing series of “what’s the deal with…?”s.

But seriously what is the deal with this Olay ad. I chanced upon it and it’s like totally the weirdest thing. Is this how they sell beauty products to women? It’s entirely bizarre.

Let’s just go through this line by line.

Skin. It’s so much a part of who we are.

Ok, skin is a big deal. It covers your whole body. It has a surface area of around two square metres, so there’s plenty of it too. But as a percentage of body weight it’s only actually around 16%. You’re actually mostly bones, meat and organs. Are they not more of a part of “who we are?”

Unless Katie Holmes is talking in a sense of personal identity (who we are), in which case she’s just plain wrong. If you were a describing someone would you say “He’s a lovely person, very polite, good sense of humour, he has skin…”? No, not unless you were a skin-fetishist or serial killer. Everyone has skin so it’s not a big deal.

Or maybe she’s trying to promote some kind of universality between humans (who we are). Like “we all have skin, right?” And yeah, I suppose you are right. But why bring that up? It’s basically a triviality. Like no people don’t have skin (as far as I know). No skin means you’re dead like instantly. So stop going on about skin already, yeah.

It’s what the world sees first.

What. When? In what situation? You can’t just throw “it’s what the world sees first” out there without any context.

Does she mean like it is the first thing each and every human being sees? Because I think that would be your mother’s face or something, not “skin.” It’s also a weird thing to say.

More likely, she’s implying that skin plays a large part in first impressions. But that’s not even true either. What you’re wearing, how you’re carrying yourself, your facial expression, these are things we notice. Again, you’re not going to think “oh he has skin, I’m interested!” are you? Besides, most people are wearing clothes most of the time so you can see like 10% of their skin at best, and that’s usually covered up with makeup anyway. C’mon Katie, you’re better than this.

It’s what I see every time I look in the mirror.

As opposed to what? What makes Katie think she’s so special that she has to say this? Does she think that every time non-Katie Holmes people look in a mirror they just see a screaming flesh-covered skull? No, we all see our faces and the skin on our faces. It’s really not that big of a deal.

So far, the script reads like it was written by a robot desperately trying to convince us all its human by making loads of human references that shoot way past the mark. “How about that skin eh guys? Gotta love having skin! Yep, definitely got real skin here – I’m a real human being and 100% not a robot!”

So I only use skin care I can trust.

This doesn’t really follow from her initial premises, but at least she’s coming round to making her point. Though I’m not sure what ‘trusting’ skin care entails. Like I wouldn’t trust a pot of moisturiser with my bank details. In fact, I don’t even use any skin care at all really (does post-shave balm count?). If she’s so paranoid about skin care I’d say just don’t use it. It’s not worth the risk.

Olay, the world’s #1

Number 1 what? Again, we need context. Say “The World’s #1 Skin Cream That I Trust To Put On My Skin That I Have Because I’m A Real Human And Definitely Not A Robot”.

I can just say this blog is the “world’s #1.” It’s the number one blog written by me (in my opinion), does that mean you should go out and buy pots of it? No, and you couldn’t even if you wanted to. So there.

Why settle for less than the best?

Plenty of reasons. The best is usually very expensive, and if there’s a cheaper alternative that does more or less the same job, I’ll take that instead. Sure, I could drink champagne – but it’s cheaper to just buy the usual bottle of cava every evening and get on with it.

There’s also value in things that are kind of lame. I have a fondness for the Sainsbury’s Basics range, from my uni days. They’re definitely less than the best in pretty much any category you can name, but they take me back. Don’t patronise me with your elitist nonsense, please.

Beauty’s so much more than skin deep.

We’re through the looking glass now. We have just lost cabin pressure. What the hell does this mean?

I get it, the old saying goes that beauty is only skin deep. But that’s not really helpful to bring up when you’re trying to flog SKIN BEAUTY PRODUCTS. It’s basically saying “you don’t need our product to be beautiful, but why not buy it anyway?” I’m pretty amazed they snuck this line in, to be honest. It completely undermines their entire enterprise.

It’s heart and soul deep.

So can I apply this skin care product to my heart and soul then? No? Then shut up already.

It’s an inner glow you feel


and an outer glow you see.

I don’t know if I want a beauty product that will make me visibly ‘glow.’ That would make me stand out quite a bit, and that’s not really my thing. And I thought the outer appearances weren’t important? What is this incoherent mess.

Being your best beautiful.

Writing your worstest grammar.

That’s what never settling means.

No it doesn’t. Never settling means not ever adopting a restful or comfortable position, among other definitions. It definitely does not mean “being your best beautiful.”

What does it mean to you?

See above.

Olay. Your best beautiful.

Stop using that line. It’s not a good line. It’s a bad line. What copywriter came up with that and thought “yup, that’s good!” Did the creative manager for the campaign not proof it? Did nobody say “but that doesn’t make any sense?!” I get that the alliteration is kind of cool, but surely not at the cost of coherence.

Are Olay’s marketer’s really so cynical that they expect the women they’re advertising to to simply lap up any rubbish they’re fed without any question? That’s a sad state of affairs. We ought to recognise that women aren’t the braindead barbie dolls that this ad is targeting. We shouldn’t have Katie Holmes talking down to them with empty nonsense about inner and outer glows. All I’m getting from this is that they want to sell some skin cream but can’t think of any benefits to it because really it doesn’t make any difference.

Also pretty much nobody is using that lame #bestbeautiful hashtag apart from Olay themselves. So great job on making that one go viral, guys.

Seriously this makes me sad and angry. I am glowing, but with rage?

In my usual fashion, here’s how I’d write the ad myself:

Skin! We’ve all got it.

For some of us, it’s great. It’s nice and tight and clean and lovely. Yum!

But for others [cut to: face of Mother Theresa]….. *heavy sigh*

But even you ugly mugs can pretend that you’re beautiful too. Just whack loads of cream on your face at £10 a tube.

It’ll make you glow in the dark and stuff.

Pretend to be beautiful, even if you’re not. Olay! [said like the spanish olé for some reason]

That’d do the trick I reckon.

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