You just scored ten minutes of peace and quiet (high five!), and that new issue of Marie Claire is calling your name. You get giddy with excitement when a date-night red lip gloss catches your eye. And then, so does this disclaimer: This product was sent to our beauty editors for free. Would you fly into a rage (a quiet one, the kids are sleeping) and immediately cancel your subscription? Or just shrug your shoulders and flip to the interview with [insert actress with a new movie coming out here]?
As it stands, only bloggers are required by the Federal Trade Commission to disclose to readers if they received a product they feature in their blog. It turns out there's no such rule for magazines, and the FTC -- at least the FTC attorney fashion blog Racked asked -- doesn't really know why that's the case. But does it even matter?
If magazines were required to disclose which products they wrote about were freebies, they'd most likely find the most discreet, fine-print way to do so -- a microscopic line buried along with the subscription contact information, perhaps.
But even if they were required to make the disclaimer more prominent -- say include it in the actual feature -- would there be outrage? Somehow I doubt it. Does anyone really think there's an army of eager shopping soldiers on staff in charge of hitting the streets every day to find the perfect lip gloss for any occasion?
Editors get sent tons of products every day -- I know this because I used to bring a giant box of said products to my book club every month for my friends to pick through -- and while every product certainly doesn't make it into the magazine, if a sunscreen comes across an editor's desk, and she just happens to be doing a roundup of summer skin savers, well, then, that sunscreen PR girl just made her job a whole lot easier.
I don't think the first adjective anyone would use to describe a beauty mag is "trusted." It's something to flip though while I'm getting a pedicure, or waiting to see the doctor -- I'm not tearing pages out or taking notes for my next trip to the department store. If I want real, honest product advice, I take to Facebook. My friends, after all, could run stylish circles around any beauty editor when it comes to lip gloss.
Would you still subscribe to beauty mags if you knew some of the products featured were freebies?
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