The Mix

There's a lipstick ad in my book

If it's not a "crass commercial project," what is it?
It's not clear if Cathy's Book, a young adult novel with copius specific mentions of Cover Girl make-up products, is a book. Given the developer, the authors (two guys who have never been adolescent girls and do not currently have daughters that fit this description), the fake authors, the illustrators, and the many marketing professionals involved, it's more of an ensemble.

Cover Girl doesn't even have to pay for the advertising references, sprinkled throughout the book. All they agree to do is promote the book on one of their websites.

These two quotes are particularly bad:

"What we are selling here to the customer or the reader is an experience that transcends the book itself," said David Steinberger, president and chief executive of Perseus, the publisher. "The relationships with and Cover Girl are enriching that experience."

But the whole idea of reading is that it's the imagination, not the product placement, that "enriches the experience."

And here's the rationale of the publisher:
"There's a risk in putting so much emphasis on the Cover Girl relationship that it comes across as a crass commercial project," he said. "But it's not."

Oh wait, though, the two guy authors do hae some standards. References to make-up are fine, but they absolutely will not include references to branded tampons or other feminine hygiene products. "That would be very far over the edge," one of the authors said. I guess ads for contraception, or anything else that might be useful to teenage girls, would really be taking it too far.
Rachel Neumann is Rights & Liberties Editor at AlterNet.
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