Friday, September 19, 2014

Why Cosme-Haul Has Removed Covergirl Product Posts, A Call to Action, And What You Can Do to Help

Update 9/19: In his press conference today, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced the NFL is partnering with the National Domestic Violence Hotline and the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.

Last night (9/18), Procter and Gamble, Covergirl's parent company, announced they would not be taking part in the NFL's breast cancer awareness campaign. (The League will do the campaign without Procter and Gamble.) This is separate from the Covergirl brand campaigns, though. Covergirl still has work to do.

Edited to correct a typo and correct a formatting issues.


Due to Covergirl's refusal to discontinue their NFL sponsorships, we've removed reviews of Covergirl products and any posts referencing Covergirl products* from Cosme-Haul.

I encourage our fellow beauty bloggers to join us in removing their Covergirl content as well.

Please read, learn about, and share the domestic violence information in this post with a friend.

If you Tweet this post, please use the hashtag #StopCovering and be sure to Tweet it to @Covergirl.

It's not about being anti-NFL, anti-violence in sports, or anti-men. Speaking for myself, those are untrue assumptions that are not reflective of my views about this issue. I may prefer hockey, but I like a good football game now and then and have no desire to "take down" the NFL.

I'm well aware of the complex business, legal, and marketing issues involved with corporate sponsorships and endorsements. In my day job, I've had various layers of business relationships with many NFL Sponsors and ancillary companies and their respective endorsement spokespeople. There are complex relationships involved for a lot of people, and many of those caught in the middle have endorsement contracts with specific clauses preventing them from speaking out.

I'm not convinced NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell should lose his job, but his handling of his League's domestic violence issues needs vast improvement. Frankly I'm more troubled by Covergirl's apparent lack of concrete action. 

As the NFL sponsor who serves a mostly female  consumer demographic, Covergirl is the sponsor whose customer base is most directly affected by domestic violence.

Yet as I write this post, Covergirl is tweeting about awards and accomplishments of its female executives. Disgusting.

If women don't stand up for ourselves and each other regarding the issue of domestic violence--whether it's happened to us personally or not--who will?

Domestic violence is not something you sit around waiting for someone else to fix. We fix it by t
aking responsibility for how we're treated, combined with supporting others who are just learning to stand up for themselves. Sometimes, that means encouraging companies to do the right thing via boycotts.

For those of you who tend to get carried away, the goal of a boycott is not to take a company or person down. It's to change behavior. Making a company  or person ineffective to help with a cause is not proactive or helpful.

Here are some facts, highlighted in bold to separate them from my commentary:

Domestic violence happens to men, too. 
While the focus of this post happens to focus on women because Covergirl is a company with a primarily female customer base, it's important not to ignore the 15% of domestic violence victims are men. It happens to transgender and gender-neutral people too, but unfortunately the stats I read did not include them.

According to the National Coalition of Domestic Violence, one in four women in the U.S. will experience some form of domestic violence in their lifetime.

85% of domestic violence victims are women.

Covergirl's core consumers are women.

The age group at greatest risk for non-fatal domestic violence is women age 20-24.

I was unable to find specific Covergirl customer demographics, but given the ages of Covergirl spokeswomen, the 18-24 year-old age group is clearly one of their target markets.

As we all know, a lot of women age 20-24 read beauty blogs or are beauty bloggers themselves. That's why beauty bloggers are a needed voice in this.

According to the National Coalition of Domestic Violence, 30-60% of people who abuse their partners also abuse their children.

Another large segment of Covergirl's customer base are moms who grew up using Covergirl products.

The NFL's future depends on kids playing football at the elementary, high school, and college level, because
those are their their future players.

It follows that the NFL needs moms who support them. So if you're a Mommyblogger, your voice is needed, too.

Whether they want to be or not, NFL players are highly visible role models those kids look up to. That's why corporate social responsibility is such a huge factor in this issue.

The viral Covergirl "ad" you've seen floating around of the model with the black eye was not created by Covergirl. It was created by journalist
Adelle Stan, who Photoshopped a black eye onto Covergirl's "Get Your Game Face On" ad to protest NFL sponsor Covergirl's lack of response to domestic violence in the NFL.

How much of Covergirl's annual revenue is earned from sales of concealer* to cover bruises?

In the past, Covergirl and its parent company, Proctor and Gamble, have taken stronger actions that some might even say were over reactions:

In 2009, when Chris Brown beat up Rhianna, Covergirl suspended Rhianna's Covergirl ad campaign and did not reinstate it until the day after he pled guilty. Rhianna was the victim.

In 2003, Andrew Luster, Max Factor's great-grandson, was convicted of raping multiple women and evaded capture by authorities. Aside from his genealogy and trust fund--which came from his family's sale of the Max Factor company in 1973, when he was still a child-- Luster had no real connection to the Max Factor company. Regardless, many in the cosmetics biz cite negative publicity of constant media referrals to Luster as "the Max Factor Heir" and a 2009 TV crime show profile of his crimes as contributors to Proctor and Gamble's decision to stop selling Max Factor cosmetics in the U.S. in 2010. Proctor and Gamble then shifted its U.S. promotion efforts toward the Covergirl brand instead.

Here are some postive actions Covergirl could take regarding the issue of domestic violence:

1. Covergirl could suspend NFL sponsorship until the players who are under investigation or indicted for domestic violence are no longer allowed to play and are mandated to seek counseling, and counseling is provided for the victim at no cost.

2. Covergirl could devote some of its website space to domestic violence education and resources. (Kind of, um..gee, I don't we're doing with this post?)

3. Covergirl could start a foundation to assist victims of domestic violence.

A few suggestions of where domestic violence funding is needed: domestic violence education, domestic violence research focused on prevention, domestic violence hotlines, battered women's shelters, "start over" funds for victims who want to leave their partners but can't afford to, childcare costs, medical costs for injuries from domestic violence, psychological counseling...

Coming up with those ideas took me just a couple of minutes while writing this. Imagine what could be accomplished with a dedicated team putting real effort into it.

Or does Covergirl earn too much on bruise-covering concealer to make any of it worth their while?

*Our background photo, which shows a Covergirl product amongst the other products in the photo, has not yet been changed, pending a re-shoot. If Covergirl fails to take concrete action, a photo not containing Covergirl products will replace it.

Removing Covergirl content from your blog without losing your hard work is easy: Just take the pertinent posts offline. Example: In Blogger, go into your posts, hit "Edit" for the post you want to turn off, then hit "Revert to Draft" and hit "Save" without Publishing. To be extra sure the post remains unpublished, before I hit "Save" I reset the "Schedule" date far into the future. That post is now offline until you hit "Publish".

Are you or is someone you know a victim of domestic violence / abuse?