The pages of my guilty-pleasure magazines are full of slightly ridiculous features (What a Man’s Posture Says About His TRUE AND UNDYING Feelings for YOU!). They’re usually good for a laugh or two. But I’ve never truly been surprised by anything in a magazine. The tips are usually fairly obvious and even redundant–the “shocking” new diet always turns out to be a slightly reworded version of “eat less and exercise more”, for example. For the first time, however, I was really taken aback by something in a magazine.
That something was an ad for a perfume “made” and marketed by Justin Bieber.
Yes, you read that right. Justin Bieber has decided to follow in the footsteps of his “mentor”, Usher, and market a scent to the ladies. But whereas Usher is in his 30s and therefore might know a thing or two about being sexy and what women really want, Bieber is just past puberty. Shouldn’t he be emblazoning his face on scented lip-smackers instead of letting an older woman lick his ear?
Whom is this fragrance really marketed towards? I suspect the ad is a subtle nod to all those middle-aged women who shamelessly adore this boy in a way that verges on the disturbing. It seems to be trying to draw a distance between the new Bieber, marked mainly by a new haircut, and the boy who thought purple hoodies were the epitome of cool. The ad is a big step away from the teenybopper image of his earlier music videos, where the most scandalous thing he did was to wink obnoxiously at a tween girl in a bowling alley. However, the box for the perfume is covered in saccharine pinks and purples with silver lining, probably aimed at his loyal fan base of 8-18 year old girls.
I just find the whole thing patently ridiculous. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not entirely a Bieber-hater. His songs can be catchy, I will admit (although how much of that is due to his songwriters, and how much due to him?) But really. For one thing, why does Justin Bieber need to create a fragrance at all? He doesn’t need the money. I suspect he really couldn’t care less about the vagaries of the perfume industry. I guess his handlers are trying to make the most of his rocketing ascendancy to fame. After all, he could just be the Aaron Carter of his time–intensely adored for a time, and then forgotten. The perfume will probably sell well, as long as it doesn’t smell absolutely heinous. Sometimes low-end celebrity perfumes can do surprisingly well, like Britney Spears’ blue-bottled affair. Why do people even buy celebrity-branded perfumes, though? Surely they must know that the celebrity himself didn’t really have much of a hand in the creation of the perfume itself. I guess people buy in the hopes that a little of that famous magic will rub off of them. We’ll see how Bieber fares.
Also, did anyone else notice that the bottle is a clear knockoff of the well-known Marc Jacobs Lola?