Is The Kendall Jenner Proactive Sponsorship Exploitative Advertising?


Two weeks ago, Kris Jenner teased an announcement her daughter Kendall would be making. It promised to be ‘honest and vulnerable’. 

Fans speculated for days. Would it be a pregnancy announcement, a story of bullying, or something else? Whatever it would be, it promised to be raw.

The anticipated day came around. The news that promised to move everyone was an announcement that Kendall was promoting Proactiv, a brand of acne cream in the US.

Needless to say there was backlash, with people slating the Jenners for calling a paid sponsorship deal ‘honest and raw’. But – despite the backlash – it did open up an interesting debate on advertising. If people want genuine results from a product – in this case an acne cream – then surely they want testimony this product works. And, who better to give that testimony than someone with such a huge platform? There is certainly an argument here that Kendall is using this platform for good. Acne can be the reason someone is bullied and make them feel alone, yet a global superstar announcing she too suffers with it may perhaps make people feel less isolated.

Yet – and this is the side most will take – this kind of advertising is also exploitative. Maybe this cream did help Jenner. But many were quick to point out it probably has something to do with the ultra-expensive dermatologist she regularly sees too. This is false advertising. For the majority, who can’t afford a dermatologist, investing in Proactiv may seem like it will work miracles. In reality, it won’t. For most people with acne, all kinds of different treatments – including those recommended by a doctor – are often the key to helping. It’s disheartening to see Jenner try and promote a product we’re not even a hundred-percent sure has actually helped her.

Whatever stance you take, there are some positive to take out of this. At least there is greater exposure of skin problems, such as acne, on social media. It’s heartening to see people accepting their ‘flaws’ and not just pretending they don’t exist. However, with the way this situation has been handled, it’s probably best to seek advice from a doctor on the best way to help your own skin.