My Review: This was a beauty campaign created for one of Asia’s leading skincare brands, and incorporates the women from the general public in an analogous manner to Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty. Specifically, this campaign aims to challenge the idea that single women above the traditionally accepted marriageable age in China are “leftover” women (translated directly from the Mandarin term). I first saw this campaign in another course without being informed beforehand that it was marketing material. Frankly, I loved the ad, and completely bought into its emotional journey (I cried towards the end, thinking this was a documentary and not a skincare ad). I can absolutely see how this conflict between emphasizing outer beauty might seem like a superficial and backwards means of tackling a deeply embedded, problematic cultural phenomenon; however, I think it is important to remember that this was created for a Chinese audience, and I think it targets their expectations and the limits of what they can buy into wonderfully. Portraying these women as externally beautiful and more importantly confident allows SKII to successfully challenge the question their status as “leftover,” and I think that playing off of the traditional marriage markets (large parks where parents or grandparents literally matchmake by holding physical poster profiles of their children) was ingenious.
Previous Review: In one of the more fascinating examples of a Western advertising company (Tool of North America) being hired to promote a foreign product by tapping into a deeply problematic story and representing such a story through the docu-format, SKII’s “Marriage Market Takeover” is an endlessly fascinating advertisement. On one side of the spectrum, the advertisement bravely portrays a counter-narrative to the subjugation of single women (or “leftover women” in Chinese culture. On the other side, however, the advertisement is promoting a beauty product designed to make its consumers more “appealing” or “beautiful” in the eyes of the other. It is in that tension that something bizarre exists – though the ad chooses to portray an issue that has yet to be talked about on a large, mainstream scale, does it do so in a way that may be considered disingenuous?