My friends at Rants From Mommyland emailed me to ask if I could make one of my fancy charts for them. I said, "Of course! I love making fancy charts!" And they said, awesome, we want to do a chart as a companion piece to our post about Walmart debuting a make-up line aimed at 8-12 year olds. And I was like, "Ok, sure. Wait. WHAT???"
Rants had a great post about it in their newspaper column yesterday so I'm not going to try to out-do them. But I felt compelled to post about it here because I find the idea of marketing cosmetics to 8-12 year old girls so so WRONG.
Mazzy is 13 months old. Obviously, she is not the target market. But if they are marketing make-up to eight year-olds now, who's to say who they will be marketing to a few years from now? You see, the thing with big corporations is that they are almost always trying to increase their sales by doing one of two things:
1) Upping the frequency that their current consumers use their products. Like— how do we get our customers to eat Nutella more often? I know— let's create a whole new eating occassion called breakfast dessert! (That's not Nutella's actual marketing strategy, I just think it would be awesome).
2) Expanding their customer base.
In the case of cosmetics, companies can't possibly get their customers to use their products more frequently— they have already convinced the majority of us that we look absolutely horrid with anything less than full face armor. SO— the only option appears to be expanding the target.
Here's how I imagine the decision to debut GeoGirl cosmetics went down at Walmart:
"Our new 'While You Sleep Cosmetics' line is currently in testing. So the next order of business is— who can we market cosmetics to besides women?"
"What about men?"
"I'm scared of clowns."
"No, pandas are going extinct."
"No, we don't have any Walmarts slated to open in space until at least 2015."
"Oh, I know! 8-12 year old girls!"
"YES! They're so young and impressionable they won't even know to look past our bullshit marketing techniques!"
"PLUS— we'll be able to drive home ideal standards of beauty before they even know that they're supposed to have self-image issues!"
"Which would mean a lifetime of loyal consumers that can be sold on just about anything!"
And then next year, when all the 8-12 year old girls in America are already wearing their GeoGirl lipstick, mascara and body shimmer, what do you think will happen? That same group of people will convene in that same meeting room except this time they'll have a fancy bagel and cream cheese platter due to all their GeoGirl 2011 profits and the following conversation will occur:
"Congratulations on cornering the 8-12 year-old market! Thanks to us, even pre-pubescent girls are covering up under-eye circles and learning how to contour their noses with our online blush technique tutorials! It's a Walmart windfall!"
"Great! Should we pat ourselves on the back and go home?"
"No!!! We have to continue to increase our profit margins in 2012. So. Who should we target?"
"I don't think so."
"Still scared of them."
"How are those pandas doing?"
"I think Sarah Palin shot the last one!"
"What about space aliens?"
"Sorry— The Cruise clan is booked. Tom is taking Suri on a year-long shopping spree on the moon."
"Hmph. Ok— how bout 4-7 year-old girls?"
But you know, I'm sure your four-year-old will look great with eye shadow. It's totally gonna give her slutty witch costume the perfect touch on Halloween!
So, tell me— am I overreacting? I mean, I know little girls play dress-up and are bound to dabble in their mom's make-up, but doesn't creating a cosmetics line specifically for 8-12 year old girls reek of pure marketing EVIL?