Netizens on Belo's ad: 'Distasteful,' 'insensitive,' and 'banking on people's insecurities'

Published August 11, 2021, 1:52 PM

by John Legaspi

What do you think of the #PandemicEffect campaign?

While clinging on to the weird and the unusual is a proven way for a marketing campaign to trend online, it doesn’t always work. Proof of this is beauty empire Belo Medical Group Philippines’ latest commercial, which doesn’t seem to sit well with many netizens.

Still from Belo’s latest campaign

The ad—made in collaboration with Gigil, the team behind several viral campaigns from other brands—features a girl whose beauty is slowly deteriorating as she hears news about the pandemic and the world. And when she gets a call from a friend and asks how she is, she simply gives an “okay naman ako” reply. It ends with a statement that says, “Tough times call for beautiful measures.”

While the brand’s matriarch, Dr. Vicki Belo, assures everyone that “it is not you, it is the pandemic effect,” people online aren’t buying what the ad stands for and describes it as “distasteful,” “insensitive,” and “banking on people’s insecurities.”

Some netizens have expressed their disapproval of the campaign.

A Twitter user said, “[I] can’t believe there was body shaming, skin health shaming, and mental health shaming all in a minute and thirty seconds.”

“We’re in a pandemic, and we’re all trying to survive,” another posted. “The last thing we need is an ad that points out our body changes. Distasteful and insensitive.”

Others have been sharing reaffirming messages online.

“Just a gentle reminder that your body, no matter what it looks like, carried you through this global pandemic,” one said. “You are amazing, your body is amazing, and you are more than enough!”

Belo’s #PandemicEffect initiative was even supported on social media by some celebrities and netizens who shared their pandemic stories.

The stress brought by the pandemic made many set aside their beauty routines and love for cosmetics. Some did it due to the fact that they spend most of their time at home. While for others, it is more about freeing themselves from beauty standards and focusing on what’s essential during a health crisis. For whatever reason people did it, it initiated a new sense of body acceptance during the pandemic time, loving themselves from every curve and complexion down to the excess hair growth.

What do you think of the campaign? Watch it here.