Max Factor has chosen Marilyn Monroe as the face of its new ads to celebrate the brand's 80th anniversary.
Wait—what? There were no spokespeople to choose from that are actually, you know, ALIVE?
The company does have somewhat of a connection to Marilyn, of course (who died in 1962). She was one of the makeup artist Max Factor Jr.'s longtime clients, back when the brand had a beauty parlour on Hollywood Boulevard and catered to a movie star clientele.
But the new campaign is basically crediting themselves for Marilyn's transformation from plain Norma Jean to the va-va-voom Marilyn we all know:
I don't think so, guys. According to this writer:
For my book on Monroe, I read every major biography then published, as well as many ancillary accounts – about 300 books in all. Not one reported that Max Factor suggested the aspiring starlet should bleach her hair. I don’t think any of them mentioned Max Factor at all. Instead, nearly all credit a woman named Emmeline Snively, the head of Monroe’s first modelling agency, with whom she signed in 1945.
Snively gave Marilyn lessons in fashion, lighting and grooming, and, most biographers report, recommended that she lighten her hair, “because a blonde could be photographed in any wardrobe and in any light”. By 1946 the model Norma Jeane had appeared on 33 magazine covers – quite a feat for a “mousey” young woman waiting to be created by Max Factor.
Besides, we all know Marilyn had something special beyond physical beauty—otherwise she'd never have become the icon she is today, 50 years after her death. To suggest that it came from a mere cosmetics brand? Well, that's a little bold.
I do realize they mean it as a tribute to her iconic look, but the way Max Factor are using Marilyn just gives me an icky feeling. I don't know who is in control of her estate, but it's not like she can give her permission. So wrong, on so many levels!
Have Your Say
What do you think of Max Factor's Marilyn Monroe campaign? Do you think it's okay for companies to use deceased celebrities to promote their products?