Benefit Cosmetics is known for having had some pretty jarring ad campaigns in the past, but the brand’s recent advertising material, as spotted by customers in U.K.-based department store Debenhams, may be the most talked about yet.
The ad, in the form of an in-store poster, urged young women to “skip class not concealer,” and many teachers, parents, and others are finding the new Boi-ing Brightening Concealer promotion far from funny.
“The fact that global brands and national retailers saw fight to exploit this message and the vulnerability of young girls for profit seems at best cynical and at worst actively suppressing the efforts and ambitions of half of the population,” Josh Key, a teacher from Scotland, told Metro.
Others took to social media with concerned comments, such as, “So let me get this straight: as long as you’re pretty, you don’t need an education?”
— Kate (@KEEccles) June 26, 2017
Others quickly chimed in with similar thoughts:
Doesn't even make sense. Surely they could have made this into a 'no need to skip class, we've got you covered' joke?
— Fran (@WhingeWine) June 27, 2017
That whole campaign is damaging. I was already insecure in school and resorted to makeup you shouldn't be exploiting it for your advertising
— L I S A ✨ (@lisacowan_) June 27, 2017
What? This is just totally ridiculous
— White Camellias (@whitecamellias) June 27, 2017
Benefit Cosmetics UK responded to the initially concerned tweeter, Kate, with the following: “Hi Kate, thank you for your feedback. Please know that we value all levels of education; we apologize for any communication that did not reflect this. We are currently taking your comments into future design considerations xx.”
… reflect this. We are currently taking your comments into future design considerations xx
— Benefit Cosmetics UK (@BenefitUK) June 27, 2017
Benefit opted not to offer a response to Yahoo Beauty’s request for comment, though it offered the following statement to Metro through a spokesperson: “We understand how this could have been taken out of context; the intention was never to cause offense and we regret if it has. Please know that we value all levels of education and we apologize for any communication that did not reflect this.”
According to a recent post by Huffington Post U.K., Debenhams has also taken the matter seriously by promising to remove the ad from its stores.
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