August 20, 2010


For the most part, advertising is misinformation I don’t need, though occasionally, it has its amusement value.

Ellen DeGeneres, actress and TV talk show host, has recently become the advertising face for Cover Girl cosmetics. She’s part of a campaign for a new product, “Simply Ageless.” It’s promoted as providing “the 3-minute facelift effect.”

I really don’t know what that phrase means. If I wear the product, will I look like I’ve had a facelift for three minutes before my face starts to sag again? Or does it mean wearing it gives me the “effect” of having had a facelift? I’m pretty sure they want me to think the latter. But I’m not fooled. Either I’ll look like I’ve had a face lift or I won’t. There’s no “effect” about it. “Effect” is a fudge word designed to imply I’m getting a benefit that I’m not, like a coupon that reads “10% off after the first purchase of a bazillion pairs of shoes.”

One shampoo advertiser promises I‘ll “fall in love” with my hair if I use its product. Good lord. I can think of worthier objects to fall in love with than my hair. How about the ozone layer? And If I succumb to a shampoo, what’s next? Will I be asked to fall in love with shoe polish and cat food and drain cleaners? You see the danger, don’t you? As to the cookbook that invites me to “cook your heart out,” I’ll say nothing of its cannibalistic overtones.    

We all know advertising is hyperbole on steroids. Some of it is misleading. Some of it is unintelligible and some of it down right funny. None of it passes for information even if the person in the ad is wearing a white coat. 

To give them credit, advertisers live in the land of perpetual optimism, a land where everything is at its best, brightest and most beautiful. All they lack is a Kool-Aid to make believers of the rest of us. I might buy it if it wasn’t addictive… if all I had to do was fall in love with it.