An Advertising Comparison of Maybelline and Cover Girl

Amy Higgins

I wanted to take a look at how the women of the 90s compared to the women of the 80s using cosmetic ads. Many of our “norms” and “stereotypes” are based upon and created by today’s media and the advertising industry. According to Jean Kilbourne the advertisements we see everyday sell us “…values, images and concepts of success and worth, love and sexuality, popularity and normalcy” (Kilbourne, pg. 121). Since every hour over one million dollars is spent on cosmetics (Kilbourne, pg. 122) I was naturally drawn to advertisements for cosmetics to try and give me a sense of the image women were trying to keep in the 80s as compared to the 90s.

To start off my comparison I chose to look at Cosmopolitan  magazine because I felt it is targeted to an audience that could be greatly influenced by images of women in advertising. Their audience seems to be an age bracket, most likely 18 to 25, who would be influenced by the ads and persuaded to buy the cosmetic products to help create the required look. I decided to look at issues from 1985 and 1995 to include a time span large enough to account for a change in the times and therefore a change in image. I began with the January issue and chose alternating issues, therefore ending with the November issue and totaling six issues from each year. I then decided to look at ads from two lower priced, yet still popular and well-known cosmetic brands. My decision to not choose an elite department store brand was because I felt that the lower priced brands would most likely appeal to a larger, more diverse audience. The higher priced brands may just try and appeal to an audience that would have the money to afford their products, instead of a more general population. The two brands I chose were Cover Girl and Maybelline. Both are brands that can be bought at the local drugstore and have an established name in the cosmetic world.

A Look at 1985

2 Responses to “An Advertising Comparison of Maybelline and Cover Girl by Amy Higgins”


  1. eye shadows can really make a great looking face specially if it was done by a professional make up artist `*’


  2. […] An Advertising Comparison of Maybelline and Cover Girl by AmyI wanted to take a look at how the women of the 90s compared to the women of the 80s using cosmetic ads. Many of our “norms” and “stereotypes” are based upon and created by today’s media and the advertising industry. Comments Off […]

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