M-A-C Attack

MAC Cosmetics’ motto is: “All Ages, All Races, All Sexes“.  Built on the foundation of professional quality make-up, MAC set itself apart from their competition by branding themselves as “the ultimate color authority“.

Instead of marketing to the masses, co-founders Frank Toskan and Frank Angelo focused their attention on salon owners, professional make-up artists, models and photographers, the very people who need high-quality, photogenic cosmetics.  In 1984, MAC became an official player in the industry.

As word spread, MAC’s notoriety skyrocketed among celebrities and members of the fashion, music and acting industries.

A large part of MAC’s appeal and success is due to it’s sustainable practices and charitable contributions, especially billions donated for HIV and Aids, in addition to creating products for use of all races.  Other positive brand imaging of MAC include a paid-for membership/rewards program for make-up professionals,  employee discounts, customer rewards programs, and the Back-To-M-A-C sustainability incentive to recycle: a way to earn free lipstick after six empty ones are returned to the store.

Over the years, big-names such as Madonna, Lady Gaga, Pamela Anderson, Nicki Minaj and Brooke Shields have endorsed MAC cosmetics and/or lent a had to its charitable foundation.

A decade after launching their cosmetics out of “their kitchen”, Estee Lauder acquired MAC.  Under Estee Lauder’s Executive Group President John Demsey‘s leadership, MAC is sold in over 105 countries around the world, in both retail stores and to the same industries that helped launch the brand.

Big-name celebrity endorsements, continued profitability, sustainability, charity  and good press for the MAC brand has been the norm.

That is, until this photo was shared on MAC’s Instagram on Feb. 17, 2016


MAC Instagram

maccosmeticsRoyal romance at@ohnetitelny #AW16. #MACBackstage#NYFW


The photo shows a woman, wearing MAC’s lipstick backstage at a New York Fashion Week event.

Cue the outrage! Wait . . . What?

In a short period of time, MAC’s Instagram post about lipstick caused an onslaught of racial comments, with potential to get out of hand:


Instagram posts


This morning’s Facebook trending had MAC at the top of the list:


Facebook screenshot

As of this morning (Feb. 19) MAC and Estee Lauder has yet to comment, with one exception.

Apparently, MAC is deleting some of the comments:


Instagram post

Up for discussion:

  1. Do you think MAC and Estee Lauder’s lack of verbal response is sufficient to calm the outrage?
  2. Is it okay for a company to delete comment, especially without a public statement?
  3. How would you handle a similar situation where a seemingly innocent picture or post created racial tension?
  4. As a company dedicated to creating a product for diverse populations, could a situation like this have been better avoided?
  5. Do you believe that this one situation can lead to greater troubles for the brand?  If so, what do you think would be a good way for MAC/Estee Lauder to move forward?

All respectful, objective debate is welcome!



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