I’ve recently become aware of a commercial for a new cosmetic product called “eos organic lip balm” that made me really question the facts about this product. The 15 second advertisement features a happy looking couple walking around in some sort of farmers market with the actual product only being seen for about 2 seconds. This product is shown as being “USDA Organic” at the end of the ad, but we don’t really see how it’s organic. The imagery used in the commercial (as well as in many greenwashed ads) tries to evoke a sense of ‘wow this product is really environmentally friendly! I should use that product to make my life seem as good as the happy couple in that commercial!’ There are no facts or statistics shown in the ad to convince the audience of its organic nature other than the narrator saying it’s organic and the USDA stamp on the product. How much of the product is made of organic materials? What components are organic? For all we know, the only organic thing about it could be the plastic casing it’s kept in.
Many advertisements showcasing cosmetic products are becoming more and more greenwashed to seem more appealing to customers who are concerned for the environment. But what does it really mean for a cosmetic to be organic? According to the FDA, cosmetics made with ingredients are not necessarily safer for consumer or the environment. Another interesting fact is that the USDA is legally required to keep to the FDA’s regulations and laws for using organic products, but the FDA doesn’t actually have a definition for the term “organic”.
Because of this class, I have been paying much more attention to picking out the details (or lack thereof) about greenwashed products form advertisements whether I notice it happening or not. This new commercial I viewed sparked a string of questions about it’s “organic” qualities and why they weren’t actually described in the advertisement itself.