It’s annoyed me for years, because I’m anal-retentive about grammar and grammatical ambiguity, and have allergic reactions and panic-attacks when confronted with illogic.
- Help: it’s not a properly-formulated sentence; just a subordinate clause. Cue rash.
- What’s the main clause? where is it? what’s the implied question? does that mean that I can insert anything before that “because…”?
Mmm, now things are looking up
- What’s “it”? Hives are worsening–serious red welts coming up–am I going to need hydrocortisone cream and the mega-dose antihistamines for this one?
Oooh: hang on: that “it” could be hydrocortisone creams and antihistamines. Phew. Close one. Better still, it could be anything. Sex, drugs, rock ‘n’ roll. Fantastic.
- (wanders off for cup of coffee and some chocolate, forgets about the whole thing)
Which might all be why I don’t work in advertising. And why Pattern Recognition is one of my favourite novels.
The L’Oréal slogan is well-formed in that it represent everything the company stands for. As a green consumer, in favour of cruelty-free products, animal rights, human rights, fair labour, fair trade, and sustainable agriculture-as opposed to raping, pillaging, and murdering people, animals, planet, and then screwing consumers to boot: I loathe and despise that megacorp and its slogan alike.
- For related reasons, Mej5s has written about it recently: “L’Oréal, car tu le mérites bien” (2011-07-29)
- And another, feminist ethical one: “Because You’re Worth Even More,” EmpowHER (2011-08-12)
Here’s another angle: That dratted slogan is one of the cleverest and most historically important ones ever. Epoch-defining: summing up a historical period and what characterises it in one pithy phrase; and setting the present and near-future Zeitgeist agenda. This is advertising, marketing, consumer-manipulation, and political propaganda at their finest. Anyone imagining they’re living under liberal democracy is labouring under an illusion. The reality: capitalist consumerism, kleptocracy, idiocracy, the worst excesses of gross greed, global post-colonialist trans-national empire.
See how the slogan changes, and how nicely it matches socio-politico-cultural shifts (source: L’Oréal):
1973: “Because I’m worth it”: […] a social revolution and a new spirit of feminism […] all about what the woman thought. It was about her self-confidence, her decision, her style.
Over time, “Because I’m Worth It” has become part of our social fabric. So much so that it was the subject of a 1999 New Yorker article entitles True Colors by Malcolm Gladwell. In it, Gladwell acknowledged: “… “Because I’m Worth It” has entered the language…and taken on a meaning well outside the stayed intention.”
Because I’m Worth It was on message in 1973, and today we know an astonishing 80% of women recognize and respond to this positive phrase and powerful sentiment. And what makes it truly beautiful is that “Because I’m Worth It” is translated into action every day by L’Oréal Paris – in its philanthropy, its products, and its thoughtful celebration of women.
2004: “Because you’re worth it too” introduced for the new men’s line, and “Because I’m worth it” changed to “Because you’re worth it.”
banal narcissism of early 21st century capitalism; easy indulgence and effortless self-love all available at a flick of the credit card
[… L’Oréal pre-World War II] active support of the French fascists [whose] slogans that were not a million miles from “because you’re worth it”. They claimed rights for the French and most certainly not for the jews and others, not on the basis of any virtues or achievements, but simply because of who they were. All of nationalism can be understood as a kind of collective narcissism.
Geoff Mulgan, “Comment is Free,” The Guardian (2006-06-12)
2007: L’Oréal loses legal case brought against them by SOS Racisme. Well-covered; one of the most-circulated commentaries is “You’re worth it–if white“: Angélique Chrisafis, The Guardian (2007-07-07)
2009: “Because we’re worth it,” with the introduction of “Because we’re worth it too” for the new kids’ line.
The shift to “we” followed a psychology-based study of l’Oréal’s consumer base. “We” apparently creates stronger consumer involvement in l’Oréal’s philosophy and lifestyle and provides more perceived consumer satisfaction with l’Oréal products.
Patent Boon (2010-04-27). Original source: World Intellectual Property Organization: News & Events, “Slogans as Trade Marks–European and French Practice” (2010-04).
Note to PB dude for future reference: if you’re writing a blog about IP, don’t plagiarise / steal from the WIPA.
Wikipedia adds: “following motivation analysis and work into consumer psychology of Dr. Maxim Titorenko” of the Centre for Consumer Motivations Research and Marketig Communications. Which is, by the way, a most enlightening site; scary, sometimes–see what’s in the works after that L’Oréal shift–this is globalism and globalization at the coal-face, before we get the final product (face cream, political leader, whatev, same diff):
Our tool is consumer motivations research, based on techniques and knowledge taken from psychology, psychoanalysis, anthropology and sociology. Unlike standard market research where consumers are asked direct questions to which they usually give false answers, motivational thinking and analysis helps receive objective data about psychology of the Russian consumer discovering the true reasons that influence their purchasing behaviour, of which consumers are often not fully aware themselves or which they would hide if asked directly.
The findings form solid ground for our clients’ decision-making for the Russian market.
Two lovely pithy synopses:
[…] Sometimes slogans just need fine-tuning in order to reflect the cultural psyche of the target audience. Over time L’Oreal has shifted its slogan from “Because I’m worth it” to “Because you’re worth it.” Today it reads, “Because we are worth it.” The company worked the personal pronoun to track the zeitgeist, moving from self-regard to flattery, to collective pride. […]
“The Science of Slogans: The Best and Worst Ad Campaigns of All Time,” The Atlantic (2011-07)
[…] changed to the more outwardly looking Because you’re worth it in the mid 2000s and the more inclusive Because we’re worth it in 2009.
Now used by women worldwide to justify any overindulgence in alcohol/food/shopping.
“Are you getting those £500 Jimmy Choos?”
“Yes! Because I’m worth it!”
“I’m Lovin’ It: Advertising slogans we use every day.” Turner Ink Copyrighting (2010-07-29).
Weightier implications: from an industry insider, Mind Your Own Business Podcast: The Antidote to Business Advice.
[…] The words “Because You’re Worth It” may be lodged in your contributor’s mind, but he is not going to buy any L’Oreal feminine beauty products as a result. Changing it to “Because We’re Worth It” will not involve the consumer more in the company’s philosophy – which is how a charlatan of a consultant sold the change to L’Oreal, no doubt in return for a massive fee. […]
The charlatan consultants are almost invariably brought in and come up with a suggestion that could easily have been made in the first place by an amateur, but which commands respect simply because a huge fee is paid for it. […]
The slogan may be just part of an expensive “corporate image” makeover – equally unnecessary in the public sector, but beloved by politicians because it gives the superficial appearance of Change without the effort of delivering it.
If only they put the same time and money into actually improving public services.
“Action Not Slogans” (2011-01-14)
As well as using sarcasm to educate people, the media have taken to using sarcasm as a marketing tool. Being well-known for it’s ability to state facts accurately, and in a timely fashion, sarcasm is now extensively used to market products to both young and old alike. One such example of sarcastic marketing would be the marketing campaign taken on in recent years by the cosmetic company L’Oreal. L’Oreal’s televion and print slogan reads “…because you’re worth it”. Tests show that this slogan is 100% successful in making many women think about the manufacturing process of the make-up products that they apply to their skin, and how the many toxic chemicals often used in those products might affect their appearance in later years. The campaign was so successful, in fact, that many woman have since stopped buying cosmetic products, and thus have improved their skin condition massively. Because the extremity of sarcasm involved with the marketing campaign, many woman now have a much better life due to their rejuvenated skin and hair condition.
Being worth it: idiocracy in action.
It’s all about what you mean by “being” and what you make of it…
BONUS: Some more revealing online items:
Image at top: Maybelline Australia