Cosmetic Treatment Images - Badvertsing or Aspirational?

Ron Myers
By Ron Myers, was conceived by myself and my business partner Martyn Roe and is the largest specialist aesthetic information website in the UK.

Being the proud father of two teenage daughters, and having worked within the cosmetic industry for over 15 years – it's not surprising that discussions around the dinner table sometimes revolve around the subject of beauty and cosmetic treatments.

These can range from philosophical discussions regarding what is and isn’t beautiful, to scientific ones about the biology and realities of ageing. 

I’m sure that most parents want their children to grow up with a positive and healthy self-image, but – being involved in different aspects of the cosmetic industry - I am also acutely aware of the impact of advertising (in all its subtle forms) on the thoughts of my daughters and some of their school friends.

The images below were taken off a range of websites promoting anything from a pot of face cream to liposuction and breast implants – and they probably all have one thing in common, that none of them has actually experienced the product that they’re promoting, and that they’ve all been digitally altered or enhanced in some way.

Imagery in Beauty Advertising

The reason that Cosmetic Surgeons and companies selling face creams use these images is known in the trade as “desire marketing” – by associating their products or surgical skills with desirable attributes with a photograph of an attractive model or occasionally a celebrity.

We might also associate them with “selling a dream” as the majority of these images are not even real – i.e. perfectly flawless skin, totally symmetrical faces with straight noses and beautifully proportioned lips.

Personally, I’m not a big fan of using these “stock images” to promote medical cosmetic treatments – and when everyone from a Cosmetic Surgeon to someone selling a pot of cream uses the same tactic – it must start to lose it’s impact after a while, and consumers must look for something different in order to choose between the companies competing for their money.

As you’ll see with Consulting Room - we’ve deliberately stayed away from using any of these images on our site – and have focussed on sticking to the facts about cosmetic treatments and procedures featured.

I’d like to see some more creative approaches to the use of imagery in cosmetic advertising – and I’m a particular fan of Dove’s campaign for real beauty: and have made sure that my daughters watched the two videos featured below to ensure that they understand how images are used to influence them!.

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