Maybelline Criticized for Controversial Ad

The world’s largest cosmetics brand, Maybelline, is under fire after promoting an advertisement that showcases a bearded man wearing makeup and bright pink lipstick, along with long silver fingernails. The ad, which featured influencer Ryan Vita applying Maybelline’s “Super Stay” liquid lipstick, has received significant backlash from the brand’s Instagram followers, with many expressing their dissatisfaction and disapproval.

Critics argue that featuring men in makeup advertisements undermines the brand’s appeal to its target audience, particularly women. One Instagram user commented, “Do you really think we would want to buy these lipsticks after seeing this? I love Maybelline, but can’t handle this. I got scared even by seeing this! Please stop.” Another echoed similar sentiments, stating, “Why are you using men to advertise this? I can’t picture myself wearing any of your lipsticks when all I can see is a whole a** beard and mustache!!! Enough already!” The negative feedback continued, with one user expressing, “My eyes hurt.”

Maybelline, founded in 1914 in Chicago, has been a subsidiary of the French cosmetics company L’Oréal since 1996. The brand gained popularity with its famous tagline, “Maybe she’s born with it, maybe it’s Maybelline.” However, the recent ad controversy has caused significant damage to the brand’s reputation.

Interestingly, Maybelline’s appointment of Suhana Khan, daughter of Bollywood star Badshah Shahrukh Khan, as Brand Ambassador in 2023 seemed to have gone unnoticed amidst the controversy. Suhana Khan’s association with the brand aims to broaden its appeal to diverse audiences, showcasing inclusivity and representation.

This backlash against Maybelline follows a recent controversy involving Bud Light and its parent company, Anheuser-Busch. The beer brand faced a public relations nightmare after signing an endorsement deal with Dylan Mulvaney, a flamboyant trans influencer who identifies as a woman. Mulvaney’s video celebrating one year of womanhood, featuring a personalized Bud Light can, led to a sharp decline in sales for the brand.

Despite Bud Light’s attempts to address the issue by reprimanding the marketing executives responsible for the ill-advised endorsement, sales have not recovered. In fact, prices were marked down to a point where Bud Light became cheaper than water at a Pennsylvania store. Consumers who once favored the brand have shifted their preferences, with Bud Light sales plummeting by an average of 29 percent in the four weeks ending in mid-June compared to the same period in 2022.

Anheuser-Busch’s stock has also taken a hit, dropping over 15% since early April. The brewery’s violation of “bar rules,” which typically prohibit the inclusion of politics and religion in advertisements, has been cited as a reason for the decline. Bud Light, once the best-selling beer in the United States, now faces stiff competition from Modelo Especial, with its sales surpassing $5 billion in 2022.

As Maybelline and Bud Light grapple with the aftermath of their controversial marketing decisions, it remains to be seen how these setbacks will impact their long-term brand perception and consumer loyalty.