The Proactive Solution

By Beau:

Most of the nights spent in front of the television at my girlfriend’s house will be on one channel 63- MTV.  Now we are not fanatics about any of the shows that are on, but we like the background noise when we catch up and for the most part it’s entertaining.  When we talk however, most of the time it happens during the commercials.  No matter how involved we are in our chat, I still notice what they are trying to sell the kids who may be watching shows like “Real World” or “Jersey Shore”.  These shows are just as fictitious as a scripted TV show yet they claim to be reality. The idea of the lifestyle behind them is to dress good, look great, and have a fun time partying.  Now the ad that really stands out to me during the show is the Proactiv Solution face and body wash which comes on every commercial break.  The ad campaign for Proativ is right on target with the audience watching because in these shows to be happy, you have to be pretty.

The commercials usually involve a celebrity, which since their use of Proactiv has had their skin transformed from pimples to “clear, beautiful skin.”  This phrase is in quotes because they actually say this line repetitiously and the idea behind it is if you have pimples you are not beautiful.  Now they mask this underlying message because it is very harsh and abrupt, if they were to say this openly I’m sure they would not yield as good of results.  What they do is make you believe that these celebrities were being held back by the complexion of their skin.  Therefore, making the viewer think that their skin is holding them back from whatever happiness or goals they are striving for… which for the most part is trying to look the prettiest they can.  I find it is not just the Proactiv commercial that subtly throws before and after pictures of what the product can do for the consumer.  The funny thing about the “Before” on all of these commercials is that the individual never seems to be smiling or happy in the picture.  On the flip side, the “After” picture is always of them smiling and happy with the results.  This is a subtle way for them to visually tell the consumer that they will be happier with this outcome. This commercial is primarily targeted to the 15 to 30-somethings and is telling them that their worth is based off of how they look. The effects of this mind-set could cause these individuals to become depressed knowing their skin is not beautiful by today’s standards.

Today, we are constantly told in ad campaigns that you have to look your best to succeed and be happy.  Pop culture is constantly changing and right now it is increasingly becoming superficial and shallow- meaning we rarely look past the surface appearance of people.  I heard a statistic one day that physically attractive people are more likely to get a job than an unattractive person.  Work ethic, reliability and qualifications are taking a back seat compared to appearance.  I see this in a minor way at my work, most of the decision to hire come from how much personality you have, but you can guarantee that looks make up a portion of that decision.  The reason I feel this way is because everyone I work with is very good looking, but of course we at Dutch Bros don’t discriminate in this way (insert sarcastic tone).

Personally I am a slave to beauty and it’s one of the first things I notice about women, but it has never been a deciding factor when it comes to relationships.  I have dated and discarded very beautiful women because there was nothing of substance in them.  There’s a quote from a movie that says: “beauty is a cruel mistress” spoken from a man that constantly gets betrayed by seductive lovers.  I always liked the line because beauty can really be a negative thing for some people.  It can cause guys to treat women that aren’t as beautiful as some with disrespect, it can enable women to only be good for one thing such as being pretty, but in the end beauty is only temporary.  The perception of beauty in pop culture is very on the surface and the Proactiv wash is advocating this idea.

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