Category Archives: beauty

Learning to speak

This is a little deep, and only vaguely related to advertising, but you’ve been good and can handle it. Here goes. Does communications have to have a point? Think back, way back, to being a child, no, a toddler, maybe 18 months, just before language and words structured your thoughts and you just toddled outside to see the blue sky and green grass and smelled the world in all your toddle-toddlehood. We all learned to intake information not with logic or words … but sound, images, colors, aromas, sparks, feelings. That’s easy to forget in traffic or meetings or The New York Times.

Watch a few seconds of this clip and try to remember. Just remember. Then go back to your Excel and Twitter, suffer words and numbers, and sling those arrows into PowerPoint.

Ah, we can never go back.

Tx Make the Logo.

On the brighter side, Rushdie found this


If you’re in love with someone beautiful, you’re probably delusional. Your sweetie is ugly, and you may be, too.

We know this is a harsh finding, but data bear it out. Researchers dug in to the web site Hot or Not, the silly “judge a photo” site that has grown into a dating service, and found a treasure trove of human mating behavior. Key findings: Almost all users of the service rated people the same on a “hotness” scale of 1 to 10 (proving we all recognize beauty or the beast when asked to judge a picture); yet users who were themselves rated lower on the scale were more likely to want to date others lower in the beauty rankings. In fact, for every 1 point on the 1-10 scale a user dropped in attractiveness, he or she was 25% more likely to accept a date.

Hmm. Ponder the horrible truth. We all really recognize beautiful people. But if we are more, um, normal in appearance, we’re more likely to want to date others at that level.

The coolest thing about the data — and we know you’re digging this — is there is a diminishing curve in terms of how much higher on the beauty scale a dater is willing to stretch. If the photo of the prospective date was somewhat better looking than the user, his or her interest in the date increased … up to a point. Once the “hotness” level increased too much, user interest fell off, like this:


Wow. Finally a graph showing the high school concept, “she is waaay out of my league.”

The scientists conclude that matchmaking is hardwired into our genes. Moderately attractive people go after other moderately attractive people, since the odds of rejection are lower — and thus finding a mate more likely. As like attracts like, the genes get passed on, ensuring human survival even though we don’t all look like Angelina Jolie or Brad Pitt. For marketers and creatives, this may mean it’s time to re-evaluate the use of extremely beautiful models in advertising, since too much of a hot thing could turn the mediocre masses off.

(Thanks Odd Numbers.)

For better results, shampoo and repeat


This just in: Economists at Elon U. report that there is an actual beauty premium in life — men and women who are considered really good-looking earn 4-5% more than average Joes and Janes, while homely folks are penalized with an income 10% less. And it seems better grooming can boost your personal results in life.

First, economists thought you couldn’t “move up” in looks vs. income by grooming. Time spent bathing, shopping, shaving and showering is time away from work, so mathematically that should depress productivity and lower wages. But these economists then discovered the very, very exciting formula

W = f(X1, X2, B)

showing wages are a direct function of human capital characteristics (X1), occupation and industry controls (X2), and beauty (B). Yes!

We see three things:

1. Our evaluation of peers must be based on evolutionary inclinations to be near athletic, healthy people less likely to carry disease and more likely to bear offspring.
2. Given this genetic bias, advertising creative showing healthy, beautiful people is more likely to pull response, all other factors considered.
3. Dang, you there, you’re looking fine. Give us a call.