Culture Jam Assignment

Shiseido produced this advertisement back in 2012 in order to promote a new product; White Lucent Intensive Spot Targeting Serum and Power Brightening Mask. It has since, been published in various magazines, billboards, and banners. According to Forbes, in 2012, Shiseido was tenth largest cosmetic and beauty company in the world valued at $2.9B (“Top 10 Global Beauty Brands”).

Shiseido is heavily invested in traditional forms of advertising (TV, magazines, banners), and is constantly trying to advertise a “western” image to the Asian market. Back in the days, since people with a low income typically had a job doing manual labor while working outside, were associated with a dark and bumpy skin, while the rich had a lighter skin tone. Therefore, a person with a lighter skin tone typically belonged to a wealthy family. Unfortunately, this perception is still reflected in the Asian culture.

Companies like Shiseido, are abusing this cultural perception. In this advertisement, Shiseido is advertising a serum and mask that cleans, exfoliates, and moisturizes the skin. However, they are advertising it, as if it makes the skin “white”.

As we can see with the original tagline “the ultimate pair for the ultimately spotless white skin”, the marketing team behind Shiseido are using the words “spotless” and “white” to condition the consumers. By using this tagline, they are forcing the consumers to believe that a good skin is a “spotless” and “white” skin.

Furthermore, the words “crush” and “eject” emphasize the urgency of the matter. They are using these two words to create an image that if you have pigments on your skin, you must “crush” and “eject” them from your skin.

Additionally, the highlighted shadows around the model and her forehead, create a glowing, “white”, and “spotless” effect. By filling in her forehead, and removing the shadows, we are left with just the highlights which are the effects of flash on the model and creates a beauty shot rather than a “spotless” skin.

The combination of these issues creates a wrong message. Dark spots are almost impossible to remove without surgery. The beauty products can only lower the intensity of the pigmentation.

Based on the key ingredients from Shiseido’s website, and customer’s reviews from various beauty stores; this product, exfoliates and moisturizes the skin. Which in turn keeps the skin in a healthy condition, which will lower the intensity of pigmentation (MicroTargeting Spot Corrector (Serum).

In conclusion, I think it is better to advertise this product as a daily moisturizer that helps with keeping the skin healthy.


Goudreau, J. (2012, April 20). Top 10 Global Beauty Brands. Retrieved February 21, 2018, from

MicroTargeting Spot Corrector (Serum). (2017, August 09). Retrieved February 21, 2018, from