By: Hayley Lyons, Creative Writer
Nobody’s perfect, or, as I like to say, Pobody’s Nerfect.
In spite of this, our society seems to play devil’s advocate, highlighting our so-called “imperfections” in an effort to make us feel insecure. (In the marketing world, they call this “profiting by bullying.” To say that it’s frowned upon would be an understatement.)
Earlier this month, Match.com came under fire for releasing this ad:
Have you ever seen an ad or watched a commercial and had the shocking revelation that Not only did someone come up with this idea, but a group of people worked on it, reviewed it and agreed it was a good one. This, for me, is one of those ads.
Let me start by saying that I’m all for online dating. I myself am in a relationship that started online (#weswipedright #justbeinghonest). After all, we’re in a world where everyone’s eyes are glued to their smartphones and computer screens; it, in a way, makes a ton of sense that so many of us are looking for and meeting people online. So, kudos to Match for that.
What irks me about this ad, however, is that, not only is it telling us that freckles are ‘imperfections,’ it’s also telling us that these physical ‘imperfections’ can make you in some way hard to love or, worse, unlovable.
As 1) a woman and 2) a woman with freckles, I couldn’t help but roll my eyes at this ad, feeling first annoyed, and then angry…and then, in a way, powerless. I couldn’t help but think that, aside from the nonsense this ad is feeding its adult audience, what about what it’s saying to its younger, more impressionable audience? Awesome. As if kids these days need more people telling them that looks are everything and that they aren’t good enough or lovable the way they are, let’s have them reach for even more impossible “beauty” standards.
You’re not perfect, but someone will love you. Jeez!
I for one grew up feeling insecure about my countless freckles and moles and remember a particular pool day where a friend told me that I looked “just like a Dalmatian.” It hurt! Luckily, I’ve grown out of those insecurities, but am the aunt to a smart and wonderful niece who, at the age of 12, already knows how many calories are in a Gatorade bottle and is becoming noticeably sensitive and impressionable to comments related to her physical appearance. And with ads like this one from Match, it’s no wonder!
Match.com has since pulled the ad, but not before dozens of complaints were sent to the website, as well as to the Advertising Standards Authority and throughout the Twitterverse.
What do you think about this “profiting by bullying” tactic, and what can be done to combat it?