Oh, Wait.. You Want Me To Pretend?
One of the problems with running a beauty blog is social media agencies who often assume that a) I’m 12, b) I blog about lipstick with fairy lights in my bedroom, c) that I know nothing about beauty and d) that I will do anything for money.
So, I’ll share a story of something that happened today – I’m not naming names because the who doesn’t really matter. It’s the what and the why that do.
I was booked for a filming job to talk about a product from a brand that I love for the first film, and for the second to give my recommendations for women aged 40+. Between Laura (my agent) and I, we had begged for a brief for over two weeks with the brief landing finally less than 24 hours before the shoot.
It became clear from the brief that what I was being asked to do was talk about products that I had never used, had no experience of and they were all heavily slanted towards anti-ageing and looking younger. It was made crystal clear from the very get-go that I’m an advocate of beauty at every age and that older women don’t necessarily want to focus on knocking off ten years, but more to celebrate their beauty at whatever phase they’re at. Clear, bright and fresh looking skin is my mantra, way before worrying about naturally occurring lines. Nothing will ever change for older women in beauty world unless it’s made clear over and over (like Helen Mirren did with L’Oreal when it came to retouching) that we’re fine! It’s okay to be older and looking ten years younger isn’t the priority of most older women. Older women are under pressure enough.
So, my list of products to ‘recommend’ were not products that I would have recommended in a million years. They were products chosen by someone years younger with the arrogant view that any older woman could only feel better if she’s ‘battling’ lines and signs of her age.
Despite trying to get the brief and offering input into the brief to include products I genuinely recommend for looking good (not ‘for your age’ or ‘in spite of your age’… just looking good, full stop), when I was presented with what was expected of me, I had to say no. I am not going to sit and lie my way through a video for money. My reputation is built on being mercilessly truthful!
We offered up various options and scenarios that we could make work, but they’ve found someone else to do it instead. Presumably, they’re going to lie their way through it so I can’t wait to see who it is.
So far, the brands involved are livid (with the social media team), cannot apologise enough – unlike the social media team who have yet to make any apology. I’m not letting this one go – it’s the ultimate insult to anyone over 40.
So, that’s the bare bones of it. But what’s upsetting about this more than anything is the awful assumption that bloggers will do anything for money. When my agent put it to the social media person that it wasn’t possible for me to do a whole film about a product I hadn’t tried or even seen, she was asked if I would make an exception. In other words, just pretend. Also that they work with lots of bloggers and other bloggers will make an exception. Oh, really? I’m not so sure.
I’m concerned that if bloggers are treated with such a lack of respect that it’s assumed they’ll do anything for exposure and money, then we’re on a slippery slope. I know this attitude; I’ve come across it before – brands use blogs as leverage to get their own brand spoken about favourably; nothing wrong with that if the product is great, but I have had emails that literally say, “We’re looking for exposure on our product so we want to send it to you to blog about.” It just doesn’t work like that (on this site, at least). It’s also a familiar scenario that social media is populated by a youth demographic who literally have zero experience in a) skincare and beauty and b) in the changing attitudes towards older women and their beauty.
I’m so mad about it – not so much the potential loss of income but the lack of respect and the absolute arrogance that a mere blogger could make skin care and beauty choices for the 40+ market that were more educated than someone from the social media team.
Bloggers spend hours on line every day talking to the very women that we’re writing for. We understand the emotion around beauty because we experience it with our readers, we have intuition around our audiences and we can react to it and with it. We are knee deep in good, bad and ugly products that we experience hands on and share our opinion. I will champion blogging all day every day as places that don’t abuse trust and don’t sprinkle sugar on everything.
We are everything that social media departments are not and can never be.
*all products are sent to me as samples from brands and agencies unless otherwise stated. Affiliate links may be used. Posts are not affiliate driven.