Keeping up with Kylie’s PR Blunders

Kylie Jenner has been in the public eye since she was ten years old, but in 2016 when she launched her own cosmetics brand, she finally began to hold her own in the spotlight.

Of course, something that comes with every business venture that any of the Kardiashian/Jenners embark on, is bad publicity, and this was no different for the youngest of the clan.

From the very beginning of the brand, there has been constant backlash of everything that the young entrepreneur has launched. Not long after the first LipKit launch, beauty vloggers began to review the first of the products, and gave very honest, very brutal reviews.

Not only had the products themselves been receiving the awful feedback, the company itself had been getting dogged with complaints of missing products, with customers waiting months and months for their order to arrive, some customers even contact the Better Business Bureau (BBB) for advice. The BBB website actually displays information about the complaints it’s received of different companies, and of the 136 complaints filed about Kylie Cosmetics, the majority fell under the categories of delivery issues and problems with the products. During this first major PR blunder, the BBB first rated them an F, which then changed to a NR (no rating).

Not exactly great PR for an up and coming business. The company has since had their rating improved to a B, but the negative reviews from customers still overpower the positive, out of 348 reviews, 199 of them are negative, a whopping 57%.

“I placed an order on 12/2/17 for the Koko set for my niece and they have yet to send it out. I have e-mailed them on the 7th but receive a generic response that didn’t answer any of my questions. There is no customer service backing this product . I don’t understand how they are at a B+?”
“I purchased the KoKo Collection lipsticks on 10/24 at around 9:22 p.m. After doing some research on the colors I decided they wouldn’t be a good fit and at around 9:45 p.m. I emailed Kylie’s customer service to cancel my order. I received a response on 10/27 informing me that my order was already placed and I couldn’t cancel my order. I somehow was hopeful that I would be able to use some of the product if not all. Well yesterday (10/30) I received the ripped kit with used lipsticks which was clearly returned by another customer. I emailed customer service right away and provided pictures of the used lipstick tubes and broken package. Customer service got back to me today and notified me that they didn’t accept returns of broken products! will be tossing these in the garbage and will never recommend this cosmetic line to anyone. Buying products online without being able to swatch them is difficult enough and risky on the consumer and therefore buying from a cosmetic line that doesn’t do returns or refunds is ludicrous.”

Other than the ongoing negative customer reviews, the company has had no major PR mishaps in the last couple years. Until now.

With the most recent launch of her brand involving an entire new range of concealers, lipsticks and a brush set, 2 out of 3 of the products have come under fire on the Internet.

Firstly, a lot of the make-up community have criticized the make-up mogul for copying Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty brand with the new concealers. Before the Fenty Beauty launch a few months ago, not many brands had put out products that was inclusive of all skin tones across the board, and this is why Kylie’s concealers have had backlash. Many believe that Kylie has copied Rihanna’s shade range. So, I suppose you could be criticized for worse things than being racially inclusive, right?

However, another criticism of the same product is that Kylie Cosmetics is developed in the same factory as much cheaper e-commerce brand ColourPop, so many are slating the concealers for being the exact same as the ones ColourPop released not so long ago, just with Kylie’s name on it.

Kylie Cosmetics, for the first time since launching in 2016, also released set of brushes, sold separately and as a collective on the website. The collection includes 16, silver/chrome “real hair” brushes, which according to the reviews made by beauty vloggers in the last week, perform well. Although, the thing on everyone’s mind is not how they perform, or how they look, it’s the whopping $360 price tag.

Controversial make-up artist and owner of cosmetic brand Jeffree Star Cosmetics, Jeffree Star published his very honest and brutal opinion of the brushes as soon as the brushes were available to purchase. In a review posted to his youtube channel, Star first of all, described the ‘silver brush roll’ that the brushes came in as ‘tin foil’. He stated to his fans that for what you’re getting, and paying $360 (plus tax and shipping), you’re really paying for a over-hyped celebrity name.

And many other YouTube famous make-up experts seem to agree with this opinion.

Kylie Jenner took to Twitter to defend the price tag, and compared her brush set to the sets released by legendary make-up brands such as MAC, Artis and Kevyn Aucoin, which actually made things worse for Kylie, as many believe someone who has only been in the make-up industry for a few years, simply cannot compare her products to those luxury brands that have been around for a lifetime.

It would seem that Kylie Cosmetics, and maybe Kylie Jenner in general, need a PR professional, and stat.

Hollie Thomson is a final year BSc student in Communication Management and Public Relations at Ulster University. She can be found on Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/holliethomson/ or Facebook: Hollie Thomson

13 Years in the Making – Dove’s #RealBeauty Campaign

13 Years in the Making – Dove’s #RealBeauty Campaign

The beauty of a woman must be seen from in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides. – Audrey Hepburn

How many times have Dove sparked outrage with a campaign? 3? Maybe 5? To be perfectly honest, I think the majority of us have lost count now. Dove is hardly the first marketer to find itself embroiled in a public relations crisis this year,  but experts say that their most recent mishaps have placed them alongside the biggest brand crises of 2017 (with tough competition from Pepsi and United). The real question is, how much longer can Dove keep up the campaign for ‘Real Beauty’ before they lose their entire following?

It has now been 13 years since the exhibition opened, and it can be said that the ‘Campaign for Real Beauty’  is one of modern marketing’s most talked-about success stories. The campaign has expanded from billboards to television ads and online videos. The 2006 video, ‘Evolution’ went viral before “viral” was even a thing, (after all, YouTube had only launched the year before). Also, Dove’s 2013 ‘Real Beauty Sketches’, which shows women describing their appearances to a forensic sketch artist, became the most-watched video ad of all time (can be viewed below).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XpaOjMXyJGk

 

However, many of these campaigns have received public backlash. One of the most recent controversial issue comes from a social media outcry over an advertisement for Dove body wash which showed a black woman removing her top to reveal a white woman. This has understandably escalated into a public relations disaster for the Unilever brand.

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The 3-second video clip, posted on Dove’s U.S. Facebook page in October, reminded some social media users of racist soap adverts from the 19th century or early 20th century that showed black people scrubbing their skin to become white. Resulting in a worldwide #BoycottDove trend. If this was the first time Dove was accused for being racist, the recovery process would be a lot simpler. However a previous Dove ad, which showed three women side by side in front of a before-and-after image of cracked and smooth skin, caused an uproar in 2011 because the woman positioned on the “before” side was black while the “after” woman was white.

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I could go on with more major examples of public relations crisis but I think we can all see a reoccurring theme here…

So why are these campaigns upsetting so many women?

Maybe the idea of change isn’t what Dove should be focusing on. Not everyone agrees with the importance the campaign places on physical beauty. It indicates to women that when it comes to evaluating ourselves and other women, beauty is paramount. Also, just because women are defining beauty, do they actually feel different about themselves? An estimated 80 percent of American women feel dissatisfied with their bodies, and 81 percent of 10-year-old girls are afraid of becoming “fat.” Can a series of ad campaigns really change institutionalised body hatred?

Most likely not. I can see how this message of beauty can be seen as problematic to some individuals, but until we get to a point in culture where the dominant messages about girls and women are not focused on their physical bodies, then we do need to actually reaffirm a broader and more innate, internal definition of what beauty is. For me, we are still nowhere near that point.

When I think of Dove products, I think of plain, white and simple soap. In my opinion, the fact that Dove have associated their brand with influencing men and women worldwide to think about the narrow definitions of female beauty is admirable.

Despite the controversy, this Real Beauty public relations campaign has been honoured several times as one of the best campaigns in recent history. It has won a handful (or two) of ad awards and has sold an enormous amount of product.  Sales have increased to $4 billion today from $2.5 billion in its opening campaign year. If that wasn’t enough, research from a Harvard psychologist, Nancy Etcoff, examining the campaign then and now found that more women today describe beauty on a wider variety of qualities outside of just looks, such as confidence. Quite an achievement for a controversial public relations campaign if you ask me!

I believe each of the campaigns success is based on the eye of the perceiver, and my eye… loves them. I can honestly say that as I went through watching ‘Sketches’ and ‘Speak is Beautiful’, I was moved to tears. ‘Evolution’ in particular struck a chord for me at the young age of 11, opening my eyes to the narrow definitions of beauty I was growing up with and the way images were manipulated to fit ideals. You can watch Evolution by clicking on the link below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iYhCn0jf46U

Are Dove using public relations effectively to maximise their success?

One thing for sure; Dove often have a good strategy, but poor execution. They need to be able to anticipate cultural points of view and reactions that their campaigns will generate. In the reality of the competitive world we now operate in, it is evident that consumer mobs can quickly jump on a misguided conception and cause it to escalate far beyond the brand’s control. This is why PR professionals should have a responsibility to see how a campaign can be construed through multiple lenses, from various audience segments through to the media.

Dove is targeting a diverse market, yet the lack of diverse thinking is becoming apparent. Their intent is not the subject that should be questioned, maybe it is their approval process.

Whether you critique or champion the ongoing Real Beauty campaign, it is difficult to argue with the results and the goals of inspiring women and girls to reach their full potential through building a positive self-esteem.

Ultimately, Dove was — and still is — one of the only mainstream advertisers talking about how we define female beauty. Personally, I don’t know what beauty is, but I do know you are more beautiful than you think.

So I will leave you with this… in Dove’s situation, is all publicity good publicity? 

Chloe Stewart is a final year BSc in Communication, Advertising and Marketing student at Ulster University. You can follow her on Twitter @ChloeStewart8 or reach out on LinkedIn at  https://www.linkedin.com/in/chloe-stewart-007150a4/

 

 

Being Cruel to be Cool- Exploring makeup for those that love animals

Being Cruel to be Cool- Exploring makeup for those that love animals

How do you feel about animal testing? Have you ever heard of it? Let’s begin with a fact: I have always been a bit of a makeup snob. When I first dipped my toe into this colourful world, I would have turned my nose up quite quickly at lower-priced drugstore brands. My personal goal was to own the entirety of Bourjois Paris makeup. My reasoning was very simple; it was French, it was chic and most importantly, they make Chanel makeup and because I couldn’t afford luxury lipstick on a pocket money budget, I settled on second best. But several hundred pounds worth of products later, I have moved on. I voyaged out further from just Bourjois Paris. I went to Kiko Milano, Rimmel London and even ventured across the water to Maybelline New York. Though, many others are still very selective when it comes to shopping for cosmetics.

Cruelty-free products are becoming more about a choice rather than a suitable option for the vegan/vegetarians lifestyle. Thankfully. These types of products are making a steady advance to greater mainstream audiences due to an increased awareness of animal welfare issues. The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) conducted a public opinion survey in order to gain an insight into people’s opinions about animal welfare.

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As the graphs show, many believe that testing cosmetics and personal care products on animals are unethical, and a large majority believe such testing should not be allowed. This definitely reflects that there is an interest in the idea of animal welfare as 58% stated that they are likely to purchase products that were cruelty-free. Whilst this study was conducted in America, I feel like this really can reflect on a much larger population interest- the idea of anyone seeking animal welfare rights can be universal regardless of location and to back this notion up, on the 11th of March 2011, the European Union banned animal testing to both cosmetics products and their ingredients in Europe. Fantastic!

Let’s get down to basics; what is animal testing and why does it exist? It exists due to ensure consumer safety at the cost of animal welfare when a product is made, it is hauled through multiple tests in order for it to be deemed safe. It is tested for skin sensitization, skin or eye irritation as well as less immediate effects like reproductive development and inhalation toxicity.

Here’s an example for you: when a product is being tested for skin irritation, animal testing labs will apply the test substance to the exposed skin of a shaved rabbit. They then leave it for a period of time and “record if their skin shows any signs of redness, rash, lesions, scaling, inflammation, and/or other signs of damage” according to The Humane Society, a non-profit organisation that reviews animal safety. This test is usually done on numerous rabbits at once over a period of time to make results more valid. Should beauty be forcibly made skin deep for these animals? And yet, there is a simple alternative that exists. Cruelty-free organisations use “reconstructed human skin models”. These are grown in a laboratory from skin cells left and are the replacement to live test subjects. They highlight the potential dangers caused by a new product and are more accurate at predicting how human skin will respond to an ingredient or product.

And that isn’t the only benefit from using reasons cruelty-free products. Many everyday household brands are full of harsh chemicals, such as parabens and fragrance. For instance, aluminium is an ingredient found in antiperspirants that may be linked to breast cancer and Alzheimer’s. Cruelty-free products provide a gentler, more natural substitute for our skin to absorb.

On doing a quick google search of ‘Cruelty-Free makeup’ for my research, I was hit with a vast number of articles-most about which brands are listed as cruelty-free. But that made me think;

  • Why do you have to check these lists in order to be informed?
  • Why do so few of these companies actually make that clear?
  • Shouldn’t companies be proud to be recognised as a cruelty-free brand?

Companies such as TooFaced Cosmetics, Wet & Wild Beauty and NYX Cosmetics are proud to show their support towards the protection of animals as they print the Cruelty-Free bunny logo onto all their packaging.

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Personally, a brand should not be approved as a cruelty-free brand unless they are willing to display it on their product’s packaging. For a lot of brands, it seems to be that you have to do the research yourself to find out information about their animal testing policy. I find this to be true with a lot of brands because nowhere on their packaging, mentions “cruelty free” or even has the cruelty free bunny printed on it. Which is ironic because most brands have been certified by both PETA and The Leaping Bunny Program. To name and shame a few guilty brands: Hourglass Cosmetics, Urban Decay, Charlotte Tilbury, ELF Cosmetics. I think this is an awful shame because I own products from each of these brands and would deem it an attractive trait for the brand to demonstrate its beliefs to oppose animal testing.

When looking at this issue from a PR perceptive, these companies are losing out in my opinion. Customers dictate the market. If consumers are buying into the concept of supporting animal welfare and begin to shop with a more to ethical mindset then brands with outdated packaging and philosophies will crumble. By tapping into this idea of identifying as a cruelty-free brand, I feel animal caring customers would want to engage more. By understanding that the consumer is now actively choosing cruelty-free over animal tested products, it should set alarm bells ringing for organisations to change their ways. Now I am not expecting the CEO of these companies to become extreme animal activists but I feel owning up to the title of an animal right supporter should be enough for customers to feel more informed and connect to the brand as they share the same beliefs. This can be as easy done as printing it on packaging or training staff on the company’s ethics.

Personally, I believe the more attention we give to cruelty-free brands, the quicker more legislation is brought in in order to protect all animals. China is a perfect example. With little to no regulations set in place about animal testing, there is no framework to ensure Asian companies will uphold these documentations. Therefore, companies don’t need to make an effort to ensure animal welfare is safeguarded which leads to a higher potential for abuse. And so, hundreds of thousands, probably even more-rabbits, guinea pigs, mice, and rats are still subjected to painful tests each year to bring the likes of eyeshadow, shampoo and body lotion to store shelves.

If we can do our best to avoid cruelty-free brands through research and selective purchases, knowing which brands we stand by or boycott- then maybe the directors at these companies will get the message that all lives- from men to mice- are equal and deserve to be treated with respect. I hope that further awareness and rapid change to how testing is currently performed will change for the better- animal abuse is an ugly affair, so why should they be harmed in order for us to feel pretty.

 

Nicole Service is a third-year student on the BSc in Communication Management & Public Relations at Ulster University. She can be contacted on LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/nicole-service-056016130.

Missguided: Stretching the Media’s Beauty Standards

Missguided: Stretching the Media’s Beauty Standards

WARNING: If you are in any way offended by ladies’ bottoms, then this probably isn’t the post for you and I suggest you look away now!

 

It was earlier this year as I was sitting on the train doing my usual social media scroll to pass the time when I first came across an image on my Twitter feed that made me do a double take.  The picture was a screenshot from the women’s fashion website Missguided, particularly of one of their lingerie models.  The image was entirely normal…except for the stretch marks which were clearly visible on the model’s derriere.

Now, I’m not exaggerating when I say the picture made me do a double take.  I was amazed!  I immediately tapped my way onto Missguided’s official Instagram account to see if they had acknowledged it, and they had – there was a similar image on there too with the quite unremarkable caption “Just landed: Velvet lingerie! Green or pink? Comment below!” I double checked the link to their website to ensure this wasn’t all some elaborate prank, and indeed, the picture was equally untouched on there.  So I proceeded to screenshot it, sending it to my friends, my sister, anyone who I thought might be equally as astounded as me to see a well known fashion website using images of a model with her stretch marks still intact!  How astounding!  Groundbreaking! Simply MINDBOGGLING!!

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On reflection I realise…isn’t it a little bit sad that I found it so unbelievable to see an image of what is, in reality, just a real girl appear on my social media feed?  I wasn’t the only one.  While Missguided began to receive massive praise across Twitter and Instagram, they also found themselves on the receiving end of some bad PR, too.  Some people began to accuse them of photoshopping the stretch marks onto the model.

Yes, really.  Some consumers found it so implausible that a fashion website would use un-retouched images that they would sooner believe the stretch marks were faked.

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Missguided responded to the conspiracies by releasing a statement from the model herself, first year nursing student Amanda, who clarified that the stretch marks were the real deal, that she was proud to show them off and happy that Missguided hadn’t covered them up.  This still wasn’t quite enough explanation for some people, with many comments still accusing the company of lying, arguing the model was ‘too slim’ to have stretch marks.

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Did you know? Slim 21 year old girls biologically cannot experience stretch marks! Wow, isn’t science amazing?! *Violently eye rolling*

Once again….yes, really.

If anything, I believe this negative PR and the scathing comments that the image received highlight exactly why this campaign by Missguided is so needed in society today.  Firstly, there’s undoubtedly a serious problem with our culture when the public would sooner believe that a picture showing a models’ imperfections is a fraud, schemed up by money hungry photoshop wielding con artists, than a genuine attempt by a brand to be body positive.  Secondly, more education is evidently needed on what real people look like when some individuals truly think that it’s possible to be ‘too slim’ to have stretch marks (news flash: stretch marks can affect slim, curvy, tall, small, female AND male human beings!).  Thirdly, the realisation of how brainwashed we are by the media really hit home for me when I contemplated how hugely shocked I was to see a twenty-something year old girl who has stretch marks on social media…when I AM in fact a  twenty-something year old girl who has stretch marks.  Why was I so stunned to see someone who looks like me advertising clothes that I would like to buy on a website aimed at people my age?  Strangest of all, our media and advertising is without a doubt flooded with images of scantily clad girls, so why is it so rare to see a stretch mark when an estimated 80% of women have them? It’s clear that something needs to change to bridge the divide between what we see in the media and what real people look like.

And Missguided are attempting to be that change.  Following the use of these unretouched images on their website, they recently launched their #MakeYourMark campaign, as part of their larger #KeeponBeingYou movement.  With nine diverse and different body positive ladies at the forefront of the campaign, Missguided’s message is to ‘love yourself, embrace your flaws, and to not strive for what the world perceives as perfection – because f*ck perfection, it doesn’t exist.’  Couldn’t have put it better myself, to be quite honest.

 

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The nine stars of the Missguided #MakeYourMark campaign

As part of the campaign, Missguided have pledged to never retouch their models’ ‘perfect imperfections’, which is music to my ears.  As someone who has spent large amounts of my time (as well as large sums of my student loan) browsing on Missguided and many of their closest competitor websites, I find it extremely refreshing to see normal, dare I say, average girls promoting the clothes as opposed to the usual airbrushed models.  We’re used to seeing these sorts of people, whether they’re celebrities or social media influencers, the sort of people who seem to have the faces, features and figures of someone who won every possible prize available in the genetic lottery.  And in our modern day culture of self promotion where airbrushing tools and filters are constantly at the tips of our fingers and every image, every video, every caption is edited and fine tuned to within an inch of it’s life, it can often feel like we somehow could never measure up to these people whose lives seem perfect in every way.  I know for one I can sometimes end up feeling disillusioned, intimidated and put off by flawless clothing models, thinking to myself…well, I could order that dress, but it’ll never look a bit like that on me!  So it’s actually really nice to have a brand say ‘you know what? You don’t have to look a certain way to wear our clothes’, which Missguided neatly sum up in their slogan – “Just keep on being you babe, it’s a really great look.”

So while I’ve always been a Missguided customer, this campaign has definitely managed to make a loyal supporter out of me.  I know where I’ll be spending my student loan!

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Una McHugh is a final year BSc in Communication, Advertising and Marketing student at Ulster University. She can be contacted on Linkedin at https://www.linkedin.com/in/una-mchugh-a11956106/ and Twitter @unamickq

Nothing is perfect

One of the basic rules of the universe is that nothing is perfect. Perfection simply doesn’t exist…Without imperfection, neither you nor I would exist” ― Stephen Hawking

If I asked you to look at this photograph of my friends and I (I’m on the right) and tell me what you thought… what would you say? I look happy, right? Content, confident and carefree?

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What if I told you that the same week that this photo was taken, I lied to my friends, telling them I couldn’t go out because I had family plans. Meanwhile, I lied to my parents, “I have a migraine. I can’t leave the house.” In reality, I just wanted to hide from the world under my duvet and watch yet another episode of How to Get Away with Murder.What if I told you that on the night of my 21st birthday celebrations pictured below I cried hysterically to my mum and dad before any guests arrived. I didn’t want anyone to see me and I certainly didn’t want to go into town for a night out. A tsunami of tears later, I began my usual routine; Slap on as much makeup as possible, take a few (who am I kidding…A LOT of) deep breaths and top it all off with one gigantic fake smile. I’m fine…

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Very few people know that for almost six years I have struggled with acne.

“What! YOU? No way! Your skin is fine! It isn’t that bad!”

Maybe I did a great job of covering it up (THANK GOD for Clinique’s Beyond Perfecting Foundation) and maybe my clever charade of confidence fooled a lot of people. Sadly however, I have really really struggled…  A lot.

Like a lot.

For years I was treated with antibiotics, topical creams and the contraceptive pill. They would work initially, metamorphosing my never-ending sense of despair into short-term optimism. Gradually however, the effects of each medication would wear off and I would come crashing back to square one; hating my skin and resenting the way I looked.

In August 2016, mum collected me from placement in Dublin to drive me home for my friend’s 21st birthday party in Belfast. What should have been a pleasant two hour mother-daughter catch up developed into me weeping as I took my makeup off and revealed what was underneath. In the tiny sunshield car mirror, I stared at my angry, red, scarred, sore and UGLY face. I hated it. As always, Mum tried her best to calm me down. “You’re working too hard. You’re tired. You need to get out of the office and into fresh air. You’re not eating enough fruit and veg. Will we take you to get a facial?” She was frustrated. Seeing me so upset but knowing that there was nothing even a mother could do to help. It was out of her control and she despised the fact she couldn’t cure me herself.

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August, 2016 – That car journey.

After years of endless doctors appointments and medication I was left feeling totally helpless. I had exhausted all treatment avenues and there was nothing more my GP could do.

There was only one solution. Roaccutane.

Roaccutane, or Isotretinoin is a last resort skincare medication used to treat moderate to severe acne and its use must be supervised by a dermatologist. The drug has a fairly negative reputation and has been linked to some nasty side effects such as extreme dryness of the skin, depression and severe birth defects in unborn babies. During treatment, regular hospital visits are required for blood tests to monitor liver function, pregnancy tests to fulfil my obligations to the pregnancy prevention program and close monitoring of my mental health. Anyone reading this who knows me understands that my biggest fear in the ENTIRE world is blood. Even typing the word makes me light-headed and a bit uneasy and the thought of regular blood tests almost put me off starting the medication entirely.

I was worried about the treatment but I was also desperate and as they say, “desperate times call for desperate measures.”

In a bid to prepare myself, I started carrying out my own research and came across the beauty vlogger, Katie Snooks. This brave young woman posted her entire ‘Roaccutane Daily Skin Vlog’ on Youtube and I watched every single video.

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Katie Snooks, Roaccutane Month 1.

I found myself relating to the pain in her voice and the tears in her eyes when she explained how she didn’t feel confident or beautiful. As I watched her progress videos I was amazed at the difference the drug was making to her skin. It was visibly improving week by week but something else was becoming apparent. Her self-esteem and confidence were also transforming. It seemed as if she had been injected with a new lust for life… I wanted that feeling too.

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Katie’s first and last days of treatment.

I’m pretty sure my confidence was at rock bottom. I have never felt so low and I was willing to try anything to pick myself back up again. I had to be pinned down by a few nurses and (poorly) distracted by my parents or friends to get through the dreaded ‘B tests’ (I invented this term to avoid uttering the ‘b word’), endured six months of a severe addiction to Carmex and six cringe worthy pregnancy tests in front of my mum.  But I did it.

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Yay! The end of treatment in May, 2017.

In recent weeks, Queen of The Jungle and Made in Chelsea’s Georgia Toffollo has decided to publically document her Roaccutane journey. She bared all on ITV’s This Morning when she exposed her makeup-free and acne prone skin to roughly 600,000 viewers across the UK; a decision that I thought was very, very brave and one that inspired me to write this post.

Explaining why she wanted to speak out about this issue, she said: “I think for so long I’ve hidden. I think actually now I’m in the limelight, I don’t want everyone who follows me to think I’m perfect.”
“I am very jolly by nature, but I get very upset when my skin is bad, I dread leaving the house.”

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Now… I am by no means a beauty blogger, influencer, role model or Queen of the Jungle, but I wanted to share my story. I want people to know that if you are struggling, there is help available and there are always solutions to your problems. Your world may appear to be falling apart at the seams at times but someone will always be there to pick you back up. You can and you will get through it.

During my treatment, I completed a year’s placement in FleishmanHillard, one of Ireland’s leading communication agencies, working on big brands such as Cadbury and Proctor and Gamble. Despite sometimes not feeling like the best version of myself I still managed to get out of bed every morning, travel 1 hour 30 minutes to work and give everything I had to a job that I loved.

I still struggle with my skin. I’m not 100% cured from acne and to be honest, I don’t think I’ll ever be. I endured one of the hardest periods of my life, yet I still managed to challenge myself and achieve success.

My mum bought me a plaque that read;

You are braver than you believe,

Stonger than you seem,

And smarter than you think.”

 

She was right.

 

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Me in August 2017 – Happier than ever.

 

Hannah Martin is a final year Bsc student in Communication, Advertising and Marketing at Ulster University. She can be found on Twitter @HannahMartin596, and Linkedin https://www.linkedin.com/in/hannah-martin-b31334112/

 

A Content Creators Perspective

During my time on placement I had the opportunity to work with PR managers across Europe and one thing I learnt was that YouTubers and social media influencers are increasingly becoming one of the most important ways to communicate with your target audience.

I was so intrigued that I have even decided to base my dissertation on their influence on consumer decision making – I will let you know come May if this was a wise decision!!

But why this growing interest?

The exchange of information between influencers and their followers is very powerful as those people who create their own content are becoming the third party endorsement that many brands need.

I will admit that on many occasions I have purchased products based on the fact that someone on Instagram, Snapchat or YouTube has recommended them or use the products regularly.

Content Creators

With interest in people who create their own content and who have built up their own loyal following coming to the forefront I thought it would be exciting to interview an up and coming beauty and lifestyle content creator. On my time in placement I became friendly with one of the outgoing interns Uche.

Uche has her own YouTube and Instagram sites and the content is beauty and lifestyle based, with 25,200 Instagram followers

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and 101,973 YouTube subscribers

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Uche is also an official ASOS Face + Body Insider.

Six quick questions with a lifestyle and beauty content creator

1How did you first begin creating make up and lifestyle content?

 I started watching university videos during sixth form which really sparked my interest in YouTube, I later went on to create content as I was bored during my first year at university.

2. How was this received by your family and friends? Did they understand what you were trying to achieve? 

 I didn’t tell anyone for years, honestly unless people are interested in it it’s not something people tend to understand or is easy to explain to people that ‘don’t get it’. 

3. Can you explain the process of creating your own content from the creative idea to finally sharing it on YouTube and Instagram.

 It’s a rather lengthy process, having a large following helps now as people are always suggesting the type of content they want to see which obviously makes everything much easier. Before then I would go with trends or what I loved myself. Once you have an idea it’s then about filming and bringing the idea to life, editing and finally posting it for everyone to see. 

4. What social media influencers do you follow?

 I tend to gear towards people with great personalities so Jackie Aina, Imogen (Imogenation) etc or really talented individuals who teach me something every time so Claire Marshall, Samantha Ravndahl or people with both like Jamie Geniveve!

5. What brands would you like to work with in the future? 

 A brand I haven’t worked with yet that I would love to is Nars for sure!

6. Have you any advice for anyone who is considering creating their own content on YouTube and/or Instagram? 

 It’s not as easy as it looks to post great content that’s high quality and also engaging so be prepared to put in time and money, if you stay committed, patient and consistent you will flourish. 

From chatting with Uche it is clear that it is much more than just posting a video on YouTube or picture on Instagram you have to ensure that your content is authentic, you have a passion for what you are doing and that you are committed to put the time and work in.

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Uche can be found here on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/uchjn/  and YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/uccch1

 

Caoimhe Fitzpatrick is a final year BSc in Communication, Advertising and Marketing student at Ulster University. She can be found on Twitter: @caoimhef_95 / LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/caoimhe-fitzpatrick-0b8682110/

 

Freedom ’90 or ‘Insta’-Made?

“Even I don’t wake up looking like Cindy Crawford” – Cindy Crawford. 

Iconic, right? 

The 90’s was an era of double denim, sheer dresses, and defined cheekbones. Who could forget those famous faces of the catwalk back when supermodels had to actually work to achieve that desired ‘heroin chic’ look? (ohh how controversial). As Kate Moss once said; “it’s a sin to be tired”!

So is it fair to say that our ‘supermodels’ of today are really, well, supermodels at all? The ubiquitous rise of Instagram has introduced us to these perfect ideas of how we should look and how we should live our lives. We are constantly scrolling and observing, following celebrities and monitoring every little thing they do. Don’t get me wrong; I, myself have become a victim of social media scrolling – I mean, have you seen Kylie Jenner’s 20ft rose gold and blush pink Christmas Tree? Wow.

The argument of ‘insta’-made models vs supermodels has been brought to light in the past and is something that has always grabbed my attention because of the admiration I have for the originals. Whether you are also in awe of these women or simply couldn’t care less, you will without a doubt know their names. I now introduce the OGs of the modelling world; Linda Evangelista, Claudia Schiffer, Helena Christensen, Kate Moss, Christy Turlington, Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, Carla Bruni, and Stephanie Seymour. Each one as iconic as the other.

Image result for 90s supermodels

Can we really compare these huge names to the supermodels of 2017; Kendall Jenner, Gigi Hadid, Bella Hadid, Cara Delevigne, and Jourdan Dunn? It was just last year that Vanity Fair published an article stating that Stephanie Seymour (the bride from Guns ‘n’ Roses’ November Rain video), would rather call Kendall Jenner and the likes “bitches of the moment” than supermodels. There is no denying that our modern-day models have all the help they need when it comes to ‘nipping & tucking’ and putting themselves out there without having to actually lift a finger. Instagram was non-existent in the 1990’s and so success didn’t come knocking just quite as easily. You can read the full article here at: Vanity Fair

So, is it fair to say that without Instagram our little darlings would be nowhere near as popular? As the great Bob Dylan once sang; the times they are a-changin’. We’re now in a different era, one where social media has completely taken over and everything one does must be documented for the world to see. Kendall Jenner then hit back at the supermodel’s comment by simply saying “if you’re going to tell us not to be in “your moment”, then don’t be in mine”, ok which is fair enough, right?

You have to admit that the models of today would not have the same following without Instagram, so much so that it has become an app associated with perfection and this idealistic view of the world. Below you will find a picture that Kendall Jenner posted on her Instagram page which received a massive 2.7 million likes.

Image result for kendall jenner instagram most liked

In a way, this kind of publicity cannot be compared to supermodels having to create a name for themselves from scratch, working tirelessly for fashion shows for major names such as: Versace, Gucci, Calvin Klein, and Marc Jacobs; being recognised from television advertisements, fashion campaigns, and celebrity endorsements; without the assistance of Instagram. At just the touch of a screen, hundreds of perfectly polished photos will appear of our modern-day models. Long gone are the days of being discovered at an airport at the age of fourteen, or in a nightclub at age seventeen. (Kate Moss & Claudia Schiffer).

For me this has always been an interesting topic of conversation, and one which really does not have a right answer. The rise of social media is something I have been studying as part of my dissertation and so I understand pressures and expectations in the online world. Of course we can’t blame these models for taking advantage of this kind of publicity, although, the question here really should be; is the ‘supermodel’ now a thing of the past?

One thing for sure is that they will never be forgotten. Well, not if Donatella Versace has anything to do with it. The fashion designer gathered five of the big names together for a catwalk tribute to her late brother Gianni Versace on the 20th anniversary of his death, the models walked down the runway to George Michael’s Freedom! 90′, the same music video they starred in all those years ago. If you’re someone like me who is just amazed by these models, even today, then I would strongly advise you to watch the clip and then agree with me that it was truly something special.

Clip:

Jayne Mullan is a 3rd year BSc in Communication Management & Public Relations student at Ulster University. She can be found on Twitter: @JayneMullan_