Korean Cosmetics Brand Has a Regrettable Ad for Skin Cream

If you happen to walk by the department store at New Koreatown Plaza on 159-10 Northern Blvd. in Flushing, N.Y., you might be surprised to see this ad in the shop window:

Yes, that is a real advertisement, from Korean cosmetics brand ElishaCoy, casually asking shoppers a loaded question:

Do you wanna be white?

ElishaCoy is a "European styled organic skincare" brand that is part of the Korean cosmetics wave that has recently become a billion-dollar export business.

The product is ElishaCoy's "Always Nuddy CC Cream," with the "CC" standing for Complete Correction. CC creams are a type of skin-perfecting moisturizer that one makeup artist calls "the new and improved BB [cream]."

The question posed by the ad headline, however, leaves little ambiguity about what ElishaCoy is really trying to sell: a step closer to the hallowed European standard of beauty. In fairness, we all know that Koreans have long prized pale skin, but seeing that fixation exploited by ad copy feels not only manipulative, but actually insidious. In some ways, then, ElishaCoy has in fact created a perfect advertisement—it sells an impossible dream while also making its potential consumers feel worse about themselves.

We'll go ahead and chalk all of this up to a "lost in translation" moment—but if ElishaCoy truly wants to cross over to the U.S. market, it should probably hire a native English speaker to its ad team.


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