GRSJ 300 – Culture Jam Assignment

Original Advertisement:

source(HD version of image): 
source(original low quality image): 

In 2011 there was a huge controversy surrounding both L’Oreal or Lancome and Maybelline for their use of Photoshop, specifically airbrushing in their advertisements. I will be focusing on Maybelline’s advertisement. The original ad by Maybelline is now banned. The original ad shows model Christy Turlington’s face with some portions of her face with Maybelline’s “The Eraser” which is one of Maybelline’s most famous products throughout their existence. Even personally living with my sister, I’ve seen many of these lying around the house when I was younger. The Eraser is a concealer that is part of most women’s make up routines. This concealer claims to make the skin look younger and “rewind age” instantly. In the advertisement, portions of Christy Turlington’s face is concealed using the concealer showing that it makes her skin look flawless. They whole “The Eraser” can be seen in front of her face with its trademark bottle and applicator tip. At the bottom of the advertisement, Maybelline uses their famous “Maybe she’s born with it. Maybe it’s Maybelline” catchphrase which implies that it’s Maybelline’s product that is causing her face to be flawless. The problem i’ll be addressing with my jamming is the message that Maybelline is proposing to their viewers of this advertisement. Most of Maybelline’s customers range from young teenage women to older women. I’m worried that the message they are conveying to the younger end of the spectrum causes them to grow up with false expectations when it comes to physical appearances. This ad was banned because of the retouching that was done using Photoshop. This is usually done to fix flaws in the image, maybe cover up a dark spot here and there or retouch an unpleasant blemish. This causes people who see the ads to have unattainable expectations of beauty. To claim that their product is the cause for this unattainable flawlessness is a stretch of a claim to make, misleading the future customers into thinking that this product is the holy grail that they are looking for.

Jammed Advertisement:

In my jammed version of the advertisement, the most noticeable features I added into the image are the toolbars flanking the left and top right corner of the image that are taken directly from my Photoshop toolbar. I also added the cursor of a brush onto the cheek to look as if the image was currently in progress of being retouched. I replaced the name on the bottle, with “Adobe Photoshop” and named the product “The Airbrush” since airbrush in Photoshop is what was used in this image that got it banned. I also replaced the catchphrase with “Maybe most definitely it has something to do with Photoshop” to highlight the truth behind the image. Within the orange circle, i also replaced the years of research and patents with “thousand dollars worth of software” to highlight that software was used to produce such an image. This image in a whole now highlights the truth that this image was in fact retouched and that the airbrush tool in Photoshop was most definitely used. It takes a subtle jab at the industry practices that were used in images like this that gives every viewer a misguided expectations. Advertisements like these feed of women and men’s insecurities about their physical appearances for the exchange of profit. The use of Photoshop to give viewers false expectations is what got this image banned in the U.K in 2011. As a male, this gave me some insights as to the high expectations that women have to meet in order to just be presentable. I just hope the younger generation that don’t know better are educated to know of the truth behind such images so that their expectations of beauty are humanly achievable.


The original Advertisement was not easy to find due to it being banned but I managed to find a high quality version of it through Google reverse image search using the low quality image