In this weekly series, Andrew Eborn shines a light on the products and services, brand extensions and campaigns that failed to take off and have as a result earned entry into the Octopus TV Failure Awards and a place in The Museum of Failure. Last time we looked at a car that failed to take off (apart from in the movies), the DeLorean DMC-12. Today, it's the frankly terrifying Rejuvenique Facial Toning Mask.
The statistics for the beauty industry would raise an eyebrow if Botox had not killed any hope of facial expressions.
Globally the skincare, beauty and cosmetics industry is currently estimated to be worth $445bn and predicted to be worth over $675bn by 2020.
The cosmetic surgery industry is celebrating its 100th anniversary. Plastic surgery is changing the face of the world – literally – and is set to nip, tuck and lift its way to over $27bn by 2019.
The industry has given birth to some of the most deliciously bizarre products from Snail gel to support skin repair...
...and silicone face slimmers...
to "anti-monkey butt powder"...
...and a device for non-surgical nose jobs...
There is no end to the pain we are prepared to go through in the pursuit of the body beautiful.
So introducing a product into this lucrative market is obviously tempting – especially if you can entice a Hollywood star to be involved – the fusion of desire and star power must surely be a winner…
Then again, what sounds an irresistible dream in the pitch can so often prove to be a nightmare in the cold light of day.
Enter Rejuvenique Facial Toning Mask
Rejuvenique is a case in point – rather than a dream product it looks and sounds like a nightmare from Elm Street.
Launched in 1999, the Rejuvenique Facial Toning Mask straps on to your head and tightens facial muscles by using electrical stimulation. How shocking!
It is claimed the "specially designed gold-plated facial cushions" provide a revolutionary workout for all 12 of your “facial zones”. Bet you did not even know you have 12 facial zones.
To get the best results you need to endure this shock treatment for 15 minutes three to four times a week.
- 26 gold-plated contacts which tone skin with light energy pulsation,
- Battery-operated (9-volt battery included).
- Knob adjusts pulsation intensity to suit individual preference – my preference is “no thank you very much…”
- Mask adjusts to fit any face size – both male and female.
- Instruction video tape (nostalgia ain’t what it used to be…) and contact toning gel included.
The sales language talks of the 26 gold-plated cushions “caressing” each zone of the face at 20-second intervals - which is apparently the equivalent of eight sit-ups ("face-ups") per second.
The claim is that this electro shock therapy leaves you with a "more toned, youthful-looking face."
In case you still had any doubts, former Dynasty star Linda Evans reassures us that this is “an investment that will produce amazing results for your face and skin”
The inventor is Dr George Springer, “a past associate professor of dermatology who’s also been practising holistic medicine for the past 19 years.”
In the infomercial, Linda Evans tells us: “when I first heard about the Rejuvenique system, I have to admit I was very sceptical…I requested a special trial just for this show."
The infomercial closes with Springer claiming: “The letters we’ve gotten from women actually bring tears to your eyes."
Evans ends by claiming “…it’s just the most useful thing for every woman who’s going to age.” Hmm… I guess that’s all of them then…
I've been involved in coupling brands with celebrities and influencers for several years from the most successful sponsorships and campaigns to mutually beneficial long term associations. The film Lost in Translation was based on one of my clients. Rip my stockings!
Done well, the added benefits of celebrity association can be massive and have a huge impact on brand loyalty and sales. The key is to ensure there is a natural fit with the core values, a synergy with the celebrity and the brand. The association should run both on and off screen.
The Rejuvenique infomercial relies heavily on the pulling power and trustworthiness of celebrity endorsement. If Rejuvenique is good enough for Linda Evans surely it’s good enough for you...
The frightening power of fear
Our desire to be more beautiful coupled with our fear of getting old with a saggy face makes us susceptible to marketing messages offering solutions. Fear is one of the most powerful weapons in the marketer's armoury. Berner, the father of PR, was right when he pointed out fear is much more powerful than love.
But what’s more scary - a saggy face or electrocution from Old Sparky?
The shocking truth
While the adverting blurb used soft language, talking about the 26 gold-plated “cushions” “caressing” each zone of the face, one user said that the mask actually “feels like a thousand ants are biting my face”. Others also complained of pain and red marks on their faces.
Is it safe?
Apparently Rejuvenique’s inventor, George E. Springer – for whatever reason – did not get his face mask FDA cleared or clinically tested.
Does Linda Evans really use it?
Some have had the audacity to claim that Linda Evans’ looks are not down to Rejuvenique but rather plastic surgery from rhinoplasty, cheek implants, lip augmentation and blepharoplasty (for droopy eye lids to save you Googling…).
What a load of botox!
While Evans claims the Rejuvenique mask looks like something from Phantom of the Opera it is actually more reminiscent of Friday 13th.
As JR pointed out, "once you get rid of integrity, the rest is a piece of cake."
The Octopus TV Failure Awards / TOFA
The product was not FDA cleared, there appear to have been no clinical tests, the company does not even have a website so tracking them down in case of problems is difficult and there are reports from users of pain.
A fairy tale product – Grimm!
For all these reasons, Rejuvenique Facial Toning Mask is this week’s nomination for The Octopus TV Failure Awards.
See you next Tuesday for more fantastically fabulous failures ….
Be careful out there…
From failed products and services to campaigns and ads we would rather forget, we want to encourage organisations and brands to be better at learning from failures not just ignoring them and pretending they never happened.
Send your nominations with full description and images to TOFA@OctopusTV.com.