Ad or Not?

Published on January 10th, 2019

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Ad or Not? Kris, Kendall Jenner and Proactiv

Kardashian fans were holding their breath over the weekend after family matriarch Kris Jenner on Saturday posted a short video clip of her supermodel daughter Kendall Jenner to her Instagram page, telling followers to “watch Kendall’s Twitter on Sunday night” and “prepared to be moved.”

“Seeing you share your most raw story in order to make a positive impact for so many people and help foster a positive dialogue is a testament to the incredible woman you’ve become,” Jenner wrote in the caption. But what Jenner failed to disclose was that her post was nothing more than a marketing ploy (more on this to come).

The cryptic nature of the misleading post sent Kardashian fans into full conspiracy theory mode. According to Jezebel:

They wondered if she was going to come out or, since she chose to make her announcement at the same time as the 2019 Golden Globe Awards—which last year looked like a funeral in solidarity with the Times Up movement—possibly a sexual misconduct story in line with Me Too. Some suggested she was coming forward with a message of an eating disorder or some other revelation about mental health struggles.

Turned out, it was none of the above. When it came time for the announcement, the thing that Kardashian followers had been racking their brains to figure out was revealed to be a partnership with Proactiv, the acne cream company. Kendall made it official Sunday night via a retweet of the following Proactiv post that featured a video in which she talks about her struggle with acne as it relates to being photographed on the red carpet of awards shows:

People were moved, just not in the way Jenner may have envisioned when she put out the call to make preparations less than 24 hours earlier.

“This is not being brave or vulnerable,” one user commented on the original teaser post, which amounts to an undisclosed ad for Proactiv. “[E]verybody has acne and the fact that you think this is brave is embarrassing, really shows how overly privileged you guys are.”

“Acne is her biggest problem? Get out of here,” another user added. “I thought it was something more serious than this.”

“Reality tv ‘stars’ are so out of touch with reality lol,” said a third.

The backlash spread to Kendall’s Twitter page, where her retweet of the Proactiv post was met with a comparison to what many perceived as a tone-deaf Pepsi ad that aired during the height of the Black Lives Matter movement in 2017. If you need a refresher on how bad it was, in the ad Kendall abandons a photo shoot to partake in a protest. She grabs a can of ice-cold Pepsi and heads to the front of the line. At the threshold, she hands the can to a police officer overseeing the protest and after the officer takes a swill of sugar water, the protestors celebrate. Apparently, that’s all they wanted. Yikes.

Where were we? Oh yes, acne. In the Proactiv post, Kendall credits the company’s skin care products for ridding her red carpet pimples.

“For me, I can honestly say that the magic was Proactiv,” she says.

Then again, according to Jezebel:

Last year, Kendall’s “skincare guru” Christie Kidd (CK) told W Magazine all about her client’s routine, which consists of “CK Perfect Skin 4 Step regimen twice daily” and, according to her website, is so exclusive it is not yet available to the public, alongside “LED light treatments for acne”—Proactiv is no where to be found.

Also nowhere to be found? Any disclosure in the teaser post that the content is sponsored, which, given the familial connection between Kris and Kendall, is what federal endorsement guidelines require. Not only does the post skirt #ad, Jenner has the audacity to tag it #authenticity. But what should we expect from the family who cries authenticity on social media in posts that are so often tied to sponsorship deals?

Find more of our coverage on the Kardashians’ deceptive social media posts here.

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