Culture Jam


The original advertisement features DermaVeratrol, which is an anti-aging cream targeted towards older women with money to spend on cosmetic luxuries. However, the advertising tactics used by the brand further embed socially-constructed standards of beauty in our society. Firstly, the model featured in the ad looks as if she is in her 20’s, meaning she would not need an anti-aging product. Not only is the model much younger than the supposed target audience, but it is obvious that the photo has been photo-shopped and airbrushed, as the model’s skin appears to be flawless. Secondly, the headline, “It’s time to say goodbye…” is intended to evoke feelings of anxiety in women who are worried about looking older, as well as implies a sense of urgency and encourages an immediate purchase off the shelf. Thirdly, the advertisement is telling the buyer that using this product will give her better results than having professional cosmetic surgery. This implies that the customer could be “save” money by using this product and also avoid expensive and painful surgery. Women who can afford plastic surgery are women who have money and status. They are clients who have the money to able to buy the product regularly as they naturally, and inevitably, age. Lastly, the ‘Paraben Free’ and ‘Not Tested on Animals’ certifications signal to buyers than this product is humane, cruelty-free, and environmentally-friendly, leading buyers to have more “trust” in the company that makes the product. These labels signal that the company producing the product is ethical and has values beyond monetary profit and sales. Overall, the advertisement becomes part of the constant pressure put on women by society and the fashion/beauty industry to maintain their youth, as it is perceived that women become less beautiful and, and, therefore, less desirable as they age. These social standards of beauty, further entrenched by marketing capitalism, have led women to spend/waste thousands of dollars on beauty products, many of which usually do not produce any real results.

In the “jamming” of the DermaVeratrol advertisement, I wanted to expose the absurdity of the tactics used in the ad that are reflective of socially-constructed beauty standards in society. Ultimately, women do not need to buy anti-aging products because aging is a natural process and part of life. However, the beauty industry has been able to capitalize on the notion that women need to stay youthful in appearance in order to be considered attractive. This is, of course, a lie, and, therefore, my jamming philosophy seeks to expose the dishonesty and absurdity within the ad and anti-aging products.

Firstly, by altering the headline to read, “It’s time to say goodbye to your money”, I expose the product as a “money grab” since the need for anti-aging products comes from false beauty standards. To enhance the dishonesty of the social norm of “youth=beauty”, I replaced the cosmetic procedures, which are supposedly avoidable by using this product, with statements that are more likely to be true. The three replacement statements expose the product as dishonest. My new “Honesty Free” and “Not Tested at All” labels, highlighting the absurdity of the young and photo-shopped model used for the ad, should appear on all cosmetic advertisements in the future. Overall, the jam of this advertisement is intended to expose the dishonesty of the product and the ways in which the company manipulates socially-constructed beauty norms and takes advantage of the vulnerability and anxiety of older women.