Going against the grain of female-empowering messages from brands like Unilever's Dove and Procter & Gamble's Always, L'Oreal's Garnier is using the "you look old" threat to promote its Miracle sleeping cream to women. The brand tapped Publicis Conseil to create this film that shows how fatigue can make a working mother age five years in a single day. It starts off in the morning, when a camera crew is sent to her home just as she's about to start her day. The crew takes her photo and then approaches people on the street asking how old they think the woman is. The responses range from late 20s to early 30s.
The video then shows the woman going about her day, getting the kids ready for school, heading off to the office, working out at the gym and then returning home to make dinner for the family and put the children to bed. The camera crew returns to take another shot and surveys people on the street again. This time, they say the woman looks to be anywhere from her mid-30s to 40s. The point the film tries to make is that "fatigue ages you."
If scare tactics are effective, this ad may ultimately work, but it feels like a huge step back from the positive messages toward women (like Dove's most recent ad for the French market) we've seen of late. And according to this film, it seems only those who can afford a life free of workday stress and family obligations stand a chance of preserving their beauty without product. The international campaign just started rolling out in Europe.