In the little catholic primary school that I attended many years ago, an old nun called ‘Sister Lucy’ used to always accuse me of being contrary, this in itself was not such an issue as the leather strap that often accompanied the accusation.
Those days have long passed but perhaps sister Lucy did not entirely succeed in knocking all of that contrariness out of me, many is the time I have found myself on the wrong side of an argument, standing up for some unheralded point of view and backing myself into a tight little corner to fight for it.
I like to think that rather than contrariness this behaviour has always been me expressing my ability to think for myself and make up my own mind on matters, ironic then that I have spent the last few years of my life working in marketing attempting to dissuade others of this very trait.
If I had have been a little quicker on my feet I might have said there is no such thing as anti ageing, it’s an oxy moron, a line invented by a team of marketers, dreamt up amid a storm of ideation sessions and focus groups.
The reason a phrase like Anti-aging is popular with marketers is that it reveals a core insight, in this case that most of us don’t want to grow old, or at least we don’t want to look like we are growing old.
Tapping into this want of human behaviour is the type of rich vein that marketers crave. A weak spot in the consumer psyche, something that can be preyed upon and pried open, before being resolved with a little faux science wrapped in an anti wrinkle cream.
Anti-aging, as I have said is an impossibility, to truly reverse the process of aging would mean that you had found the elixir of youth, the secret to eternal life, truly this would be something worth marketing. However the concept of Anti-aging in a marketing sense is very real, it is, at its essence, the very promise that all cosmetics offer, which is the ability to look younger, less affected by age, more beautiful.
But here’s the rub, (and perhaps where I get a little contrary) any cosmetic product worth its salt, by this definition could be termed Anti-aging. Depending on what they are designed to do any product that exfoliates or hydrates the skin or has simple ingredients like vitamin E will have an ‘Anti-aging’ effect, in that for the time you use them they will plump up the surface of your skin by filling the space between cells with moisture or strip away dead layers of dry flaky skin revealing fresher, healthier skin underneath — in both cases effectively making us look younger, or at least less affected by age.
I guess the only thing about cosmetics is that they are cosmetic, by definition they are a cover up of the facts, stop using them and the effect stops, still the next time someone asks me if my range is anti-aging I will simply say — Yes.