Have you heard about this new iPhone app, Beauty Score?  Based on some algorithm, the app measures your facial structure and can detect whether you’re pretty or not.

Ugh, I feel a sense of deja vu.

This sense of deja vu actually has nothing to do with beauty.  As an advertising gal, I constantly have the uncomfortable conversation with my clients about the veracity of quantitative measurement of advertising.  Like beauty, advertisements are complex forms of communication, and our responses to both are HIGHLY subjective and based on many factors.  We respond to advertising in conscious and unconscious ways.  We can’t always pinpoint why we are drawn to certain ads.  And that’s the beauty (no pun intended) of the business.  It taps into what drives us on many levels.

Net net, you can’t just use one set of criteria to measure such things.  Getting back to beauty, is someone beautiful based on symmetry alone?  Of course not!  Even Nancy Etcoff who argues for a biological explanation of attractiveness in Survival of the Prettiest recognizes that the top models don’t all have purely symmetrical features.  As Francis Bacon said, “There is no beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion.”  And we deem people beautiful based on a host of factors — their bodies, manners, voice, energy, sense of style, scent, and the list goes on.  I’m happy to see that Allure magazine, the country’s leading beauty magazine calls this app into question (Even Celebrities Aren’t Pretty Enough for Apps?).

I know, I know, it’s just an app.  I should have a sense of humor about it, but it’s so blatantly ridiculous I have to vent.  Thanks for listening 🙂

Recommended Posts