Published on The Daily Femme – Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Contributed by Annamarya
When I first saw the new Rimmel London Lasting Finish Lipstick ad featuring Zooey Deschanel, I barely recognized her. Not an inch of her over-Photoshoped face was familiar to me. Where was the multi-faceted artist so many people admire–the adorable half of twee-folk duo She & Him, the love interest of delicious Joseph Gordon-Levitt in 500 Days of Summer, the jaded, shy blonde mall elf in Elf? Surely she was in there somewhere.
Even with the above side-by-side, I still can’t see the resemblance. Deschanel’s likeness was crudely erased by brushes, smudges, slices, and auto levels. Her uniquely pretty face fades behind perceived overexposure and saturation. Her beauty (and neck) are lost. Like the many other Photoshop blunders in recent memory, this speculated “retouching” done by Rimmel’s creative team, whether in-house or contracted, completely eliminates any shred of individuality the musician/actress has.
Normally, you’d call this one for the books. But this isn’t just another over-zealous Photoshop entry in the “Expected Normality of Advertisements” journal. This isn’t just a suspected blunder involving just a one-off commercial model. This is one of Rimmel London’s new freakin’ brand spokespersons! She was chosen for such a role because of her “unconventional” beauty, her ironically hip style, and her bouncy personality. According to The Frisky, Deschanel, along with singer Solange and Puetro Rican model Alejandra Ramos Munoz were selected as Rimmel brand ambassadors particularly for their diversity in beauty–an attempt to broaden their appeal to Asian and South American women.
So, you would think, then, Rimmel would highlight Deschanel’s “unconventional” traits. It’s not as if that’s unchartered territory for the company – they did produce this Lash Accelerator Mascara ad that, while retouched, actually looks like her. Yet, they didn’t for the lipstick. Instead, executives approved an ad that seemingly removes all her distinguishing features, overexposes her already-pale skin, and turns her into another nameless face in a nameless crowd. Granted, cosmetic ads are suppose to be about the product, not the person. But, while over-photoshoping is terrible no matter who the person graphically chopped is, doing so on someone picked particularly for their unconventional looks goes to further show that selling and attaining beauty will always be about achieving conformity. It’s a damaging message, particularly to our female youth, who are judged on, regarded and exploited primarily for their developing exterior beauty.
In the end, the question remains: How does this ad really appeal to other cultures when, in fact, it’s similar to all the other generic cosmetic ads out there? If this is the result, then what’s the point?