5-2 Consumer Engagement

More and more brands are making the switch toward a more ethical standpoint in the beauty industry. With the consumer market striving to be eco-friendlier, brands are having to answer the call. L’Oreal, who owns multiple popular brands within the beauty industry is one that has had multiple issues with ethical and legal practices. Since L’Oreal is such a huge company within the market, their advertisements are global, and quite often under fire. In 2011, L’Oreal had their ads pulled from the UK market due to altering photos that gave an unrealistic expectation of women. (Jagdesh, 2011) In addition to the issue of over editing photos, the brand has dealt with complications of racism in their advertisements. In 2007, the brand sent faxes to eliminate ethnic sounding names, or images portraying anyone who was not “BBR”, an industry term for Caucasian. This came up during an advertising campaign for Garnier Fructis, who is owned by the brand. L’Oreal has since worked on creating a more inclusive brand. This can be seen in the range of shades they create, as well as their advertisements.  (Chrisafis, 2007)  L’Oreal has been scrutinized in the past with the issue of child labor laws. A major ingredient in their products, Mica, is mined in India, which included children. (Doherty & Whyte, 2014) While L’Oreal was only sourcing the ingredient from the country, it still is the ethical responsibility of L’Oreal to know who they vendors are, and make sure their values align in the same way. While the industry is unregulated, it is estimated that around twelve percent of children from five to fourteen are forced to work. (UNICEF, 2014)

These and more have had huge impacts on how consumers see L’Oreal. Many companies are creating similar products which have drawn consumers away from the brand. Since L’Oreal is the parent company to various brands, some consumers have even chosen to boycott those as well. Like with their print advertisement, their social media accounts have also attracted negative attentions with select photos and statements. L’Oreal is not ranked highly from an ethical standpoint for consumers. In recent times, L’Oreal needs to focus on a more inclusive brand viewpoint. Utilizing influencers through social media with different ethnicities will help to reach larger markets. Dove Beauty has seen huge growth in terms of sales with their “Real Beauty” campaign over the past few years. Not only is digital marketing more cost effective, but it also has the ability to reach further than a traditional print ad would. Through campaigns focused on diversity, L’Oreal can further reach consumers within the beauty market.

References:

Chrisafis, A. (2007). You’re Worth It If White. The Guardian

Doherty, B., & Whyte, S. (2014). India’s mica mines: The shameful truth about make-up’s shimmer. The Age. Retrieved November 6, 2014.

UNICEF. November 2014. Child [table]. UNICEF.