MAC are due to release this collection in September. Rodarte have stated that the collection was inspired by the landscape that they saw on a road trip in Texas.
One of the nail polishes is called Juarez. Juarez is a town in Mexico full of factories which employ women to work for very low wages and in harsh working conditions where sexual harrasment is common place. A vast number of women have gone missing, been raped or murdered on their way to work. Locals estimate the number of murders to be around 5000 although the authorities speculate about 400. It is alleged that the Mexican police have done little to investigate these murders possibly because the victims are primarily poor women.
Aside from Juarez, other product names in this collaboration include Factory, Bordertown (Angelina Jolie starred in a film 'Bordertown' loosely based around the murders) and Sleepwalker (most of the offences take place as women workers travel to and from shifts in the factories).
A promo picture has also been released with this MAC collection featuring a very pale, ghost-like female.
MAC have apologised for the offence caused and have stated a portion of proceeds from this collection will go to help those in Juarez.
I hope I have got all of the details right, there are many more indepth posts out there. I found most of my facts in Yinka's (http://www.vexinthecity.com/2010/07/mac-rodarte-collection-ignites-juarez.html#more). A very informative post with a number of links to related posts and to Amnesty. I would also imagine that there could be some further statements from MAC this week.
Now a lot of us have strong opinions one way or another as to whether the marketing of this collaboration is acceptable. Indeed I saw one tweet asking if we would accept it if MAC had instead created a collection that related to 9/11 in the way this collection relates to Juarez. However, what I want to focus on is one thing and actually it is relatively trivial compared to the issues at the core of this controversy but 'What were MAC thinking?'.
It does not matter if they have the right to create such campaigns or not but why did they bother? I just feel that anybody could have foreseen the controversy that it was going to cause and I can not see how MAC could squeeze additional product margins out of this collection with this campaign marketed as it is. So, no financial gain. Even if some customers are not as outraged as British/US Bloggers, the very best MAC are going to do with this collection is equal what they would normally get from a collection. So what was the point in a corporate brand, whose primary aim is probably profit, doing this and guaranteeing themselves some bad hype when it seems they are set to gain absolutley nothing?The campaign almost comes across as a desperate cry for attention but surely MAC don't need attention that badly.
As you know, I am quite new to beauty blogging and indeed, MAC but I do know that many (dare I say most?) beauty blogs feature MAC heavily (ahem.). Now I find the products more often then not of great quality but there are plenty of brands out there who probably deliver enough to satisfy our day to day needs yet some (and yep, I'm counting myself here) seem to class MAC differently to any other cosmetic brand. In Laura's (http://lollipop26writes.com/) latest video, she mentions how a haul in MAC is different in the thrill factor it provides.
I'm sure as an avid blog reader, I read at least one post each day which heavily features MAC. I am encountering MAC every single day and this might be quite pathetic but maybe I see MAC almost as a friend (and one I aspire to as well) rather then just another brand. I guess this collaboration reminds us all that MAC are another huge multinational brand. And this is where it hurts because long ago, I accepted that such brands have their own rules so maybe it is not surprising that MAC have caused some controversy. These days, most multinational brands seem to. However, I am a little bit surprised that MAC have let this go so far.
Many of you know MAC so well knowing all the latest release dates and product information and yet, despite providing such great customer satisfaction for so long, it seems that MAC know nothing about their customers at all. Otherwise surely they would have foreseen this furore.
I would presume that MAC's customer base is mainly female as are the victims in Juarez. The females there are often victims of crimes or behaviour which impreach 'womens' rights. Many of MAC's customers are going to relate to such issues. I'm not sure how MAC thought they could spin this collection so postitively to a largely female majority market. They have millions of female customers all over the world, mainly in the developed countries where women on the whole are fortunate enough to have voices. MAC must have known, especially in this digital age, that people were going to join up these dots rightly or wrongly and there would be this controversy. Why go to all the trouble of designing a collection and then marketing it in a way which quite obviously is going to get all this bad press especially when their Viva Glam collections are so applauded?!
Also it sounds like the colours in MAC-Rodarte collection are not suited to all skintones. Therefore, they have already eliminated some customers interest so why market this collection in this way and disable its success even further?! *Shakes head in disbelief*, it seems senseless!
I saw a comment somewhere (sorry I can not remember where, I have read a few posts tonight) that art does come out of darkness and such risks are more 'acceptable' these days.
However MAC are such a huge brand with what I would imagine generally are pretty standard, mainstream, customers (as far as individuals are standard). I'm not sure the number of people drawn to the collection because of the brand's new 'edge' are going to make up for the number of people that they have lost.
Saying that looking to the long term, I can't see this been the end of MAC but I do wonder if people are going to think of them a little differently now. Maybe they won't be quite so "bestie" anymore.
The one good thing that has come out of this controversy is that I now know about Juarez. I didn't before and I'm pretty sure I'm not alone. It may be slightly naive of me but I only hope that now so many more of us are aware of the situation there then in some way, more help can be given to the people.
Oh and as Yinka suggests in her post, we all need to make our own choices as to how far we condemn/boycott MAC, if at all.