Cruel yet effective ad by Proactiv

When Proactiv Solution first enter the market in the 90’s, they had a no strong competitors. Proactiv was a new, soothing acne treatment that promised clear and beautiful skin. Proactiv is not cheap, it cost a hefty $70 for 3 small bottles; cleaner, toner and moisture. I remember purchasing Proactiv when I was in high school. Back in the 90’s, Praoctiv had no strong competitors which allowed it to advertise using product features within the product-oriented strategies category. Today, Proactiv has mastered its brand positioning and made its acne system practically embedded in its consumers mind. They combine product feature and positioning to establish a strong competitive advantage in the market.

The ad above is one of their older ads and the strategy of this ad is cruel yet effective. It points out to customers “If you have acne, you dont have a boyfriend”. This is a very strong strategy because acne usually occurs during your teenage years and when teenagers go through emotional and physical changes. While teenage boys do experience acne, we can see that the word “boyfriend” is written in pink lettering signals that the ad is likely targeted at teenage girls. Teenagers being Proactiv’s largest market would be more sensitive to this issue and believe that Proactiv is brought for a rational reason as it “solves” consumers problem.


If we consider the 4P’s in terms of Proactiv’s acne solution:

Promotion: many A list celebrities, to name a few, Katy Perry, Justin Beiber and Lindsey Lohan has endorsed Proactiv’s product. By using reference power, many youths look up to these celebrities and if Katy Perry used Praoctiv, then they would use it as well.

Price: It’s price for 3 bottles of solutions (toner, cleanser and moisturizer  ) is on the more expensive side of the spectrum. For a set of 3 bottles, it ranges from $60-$70 dollars depending on destination country.

People: It targets youths, primarily from age 16-20 or those going through their growth spurt!

Place: Proactiv is only on speciality kiosko’s around in malls all over North America. There are now Proactiv vending machines located at specific malls in America. It’s convient for people who just wants to stock up.

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