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Advertising in Cosmetics Industry in the UK

Advertising in Cosmetics Industry in the UK

1.0 Background of the Study

According to the Consumer Council (1999), advertising refers to the mean of making representation in any form with regard to trade, business, craft or profession. Advertising was carried out for the purpose of promoting the goods or services and which shall include immovable property, rights and obligations. Frith (1997) also stresses that advertising could be also perceived as messages that "impart information about the products that consumers use to make brand choices." As such, advertising is one of the most powerful avenues of social communication today as it circulates knowledge and promotes both the products and the image of the company that owns such product brands (Cronin, 2000).

O'Shaughnessy and O'Shaughnessy (2003) relate that recall is an important aspect in advertising hence advertisements associate a specific product with symbols which exemplifies values, group feeling, prestige, status, power, achievement or just plain hedonistic pleasure. Although people have different perceptions regarding products, association of different things or situations to a particular product could have a powerful impact on the consumer. Frith (1997) regarded as the power of advertising to channel desires wherein the channel communicates with the culture of the targeted population. Such instance manifests how people give meaning to objects.

Ruiz and DuBois (2000) argue that women of today are witnessing the commercialisation of cosmetics first hand. The production of commercial cosmetics is widespread today especially for external cosmetic applications that involve skin care and therapeutic treatment. For the authors, the cosmetics business success is founded on defining the outward appearance of femininity whereby specific processes of mass production, distribution and marketing and advertising have rendered new social meanings about female identity and thus made them compelling to women consumers As such, the cosmetics industry is an example of an industry where class boundaries are non-existent as every class could have an access to cosmetics (pp. 324-325).

According to a report, cosmetic marketplace is a huge business worldwide with worth of $40 billion. In fact, in the UK alone, the industry directly employs 150, 000 people to cater to the cosmetics needs of the approximately 93% of British women who makes use of cosmetics. UK consumers are slated to spend £5bn a year merely for purchasing beauty products. Women are also reported to use more than 20 different products to complete their daily routines. And like other industries, the cosmetics industry is being governed by a Cosmetics Directive with Cosmetic, Toiletry and Perfumery Association (CTPA), the trade association which represents the UK cosmetics industry, as the overseer.

Large cosmetics manufacturers put enormous sums of money to make people aware of their products and why they need such. In March 2001, it was reported that the UK cosmetics industry spent £32 million on facial makeup advertising alone and with £11m of these was spent on lipstick advertising. According to Women's Environmental Network (WEN), marketing techniques are used to exploit the insecurities of the people that concern the body image with the basis on idealised and enhanced images of men and women. The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) embodies advertising policies applicable to UK cosmetics marketplace.

2.0 Statement of the Problem

The problem that will be addressed in this study is the advertising, publicity and promotion intended for the cosmetics industry in the UK context. The study will answer the following research questions:

1) What are the leading advertising strategies in the UK cosmetic industry?

2) What are the leading advertising mediums that the UK cosmetic industry utilises?

3) How does the UK cosmetics advertising is regulated?

3.0 Objectives of the Study

The main aim of this research is to investigate in-depth the UK cosmetics advertising. Specifically, the study will seek to address the following objectives:

  • To explore the nature and dynamics of UK cosmetics advertising concepts, strategies, practices and even advertising mediums

  • To study how UK cosmetic manufacturers conform to regulations and directives set by the government

4.0 Research Methodology

The research strategy that the study will utilize is the descriptive method. A descriptive research intends to present facts concerning the nature and status of a situation, as it exists at the time of the study (Creswell, 1994). It is also concerned with relationships and practices that exist, beliefs and processes that are ongoing, effects that are being felt, or trends that are developing. (Best, 1970) In addition, such approach tries to describe present conditions, events or systems based on the impressions or reactions of the respondents of the research (Creswell, 1994).

Primary and secondary research will be conducted in the study. In primary research, the study will survey UK-based cosmetic companies with reference to advertising programmes. A semi-structured questionnaire will be developed and it will be used as the survey tool for the study. It is planned that the questionnaire will have a 5 point Likert Scale, as well as ranking and open-ended questions. Sources in secondary research will include previous research reports, newspaper, magazine and journal content, organization statistics, etc.

5.0 References

Best, J. W. (1970). Research in Education, 2nd Ed. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice Hall, Inc.

Consumer Council (1999). Ways to Improve the Regulation of Advertising. Java Road, Hong Kong.

Cosmetics Industry Overview. Retrieved on 13 February 2009, from

Creswell, J.W. 1994. Research design. Qualitative and quantitative approaches. Thousand Oaks, California: Sage.

Cronin, A.M. (2000). Gender, Images, and Rights. Routledge, New York

Frith, K.T. (1997). Undressing the Ad: Reading Culture in Advertising. Peter Lang, New York.

Ruiz, V. and DuBois, E. C. (2000). Unequal Sisters: A Multicultural Reader in US Women's History. London: Routledge.


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