Missing Skincare Ipsum

written by Carolina Pistone April 27, 2017
Missing Skincare Ipsum

Underneath the soothing serums. Behind the firming mud. Between the lipstick swatches. Drama and mystery abound in the beauty world. And someone, somewhere has created a revolutionary tool that is part comical pastime, part inspiration machine and all-around snide commentary on the realities of skin care marketing.

Our radiant rebel has pulled out all the stops to remain in the smoky shadows—including hiring a company in Panama to blur the lines.

Bartlett Brands launched an investigation to uncover her (or his) identity.
This is Missing Skincare Ipsum*.
*A take on  ‘lorem ipsum,’ the standard dummy placeholder text used by the printing and typesetting industry.


Evidence #1


The Email

The day started like any other: coffee wafted, laptops hummed, letters kerned, brands strategized, and somewhere close by—a company pivoted. And then, the email.

It read, “Check out this fun little resource I’ve been using. I can’t stop hitting that generate button.” Intrigued, we clicked.

Greeting us in a big, bold Helvetica was the title “Skincare Ipsum” and a tempting button: “Generate More Skincare Marketing Bullshit.”

What followed was a paragraph of pure genius about a lightweight, anti-inflammatory snail serum from the Jeji island infused with green tea extracts and baobab tree that promised to nourish and rebalance skin, deliver radiance and protect against damage.


Evidence #2


The Mystery

Every line of copy on the site  sounded like the kind of product we long to create, own and slather onto our bodies and faces. We’ve never tried snail serum, but we’ve written enough skin care copy to know that whoever created this masterpiece knew her (or his) stuff.

This person was no stranger to beauty—and something must have pushed her to rebel against the industry in such a fantastic way.

What was her story? Had we crossed paths? Did she still work in beauty, or had one too many bullshit lines driven her to move on to something more fulfilling—like humanitarian work or a permanent Maui vacation?


The Investigation

We replied to the original email pointing us to the site: “Hey, you’ve made the office’s day. How did you find this? We want to applaud the mastermind behind it.”

But the response was lackluster: “I was hunting for dummy copy. Google pointed me there.”

Google—the internet’s haystack. We were going to have to go beyond the basic tracking methods. As people who spend entirely too much time in front of a computer screen, we’ve developed some sly internet tricks. A click here, some code inspecting there, deep dives into the dark web, and… nothing.

Whoever our mystery person was had covered her tracks well—even opting to hide her site registry info with professional aid from WhoIsGuard, an internet security company in Panama.


Evidence #3


Our egos dampened, we turned to our expert. In the dimly lit back aisle of the Twitter Market on Market, we met the man in plaid: one Athan Nakers,* Code Master Extraordinaire.
*The name of this individual has been changed to protect his identity.

“Now see here,” he started, a cigar teetering precariously on the edge of his lips—unlit. “You’ve got to track the IP address. I’ll show you how it’s done, but what’s in it for me?”

We offered the Code Master a cookie, and he lent us his mastery. Our first big break: “Skincareipsum.com servers are located in New York, United States.”

We rejoiced, but prematurely. Although this new shred of evidence could in fact have given us our mystery person’s location, it wasn’t a guarantee.


Evidence #4


The Theories

“She must be a former beauty girl, wronged by her company or a bad client. She’s getting back at the industry with some prime laughs. She’s a beauty Deadpool.”

“She’s probably sitting in a cubicle in New York. Wearing all black. Bags under her eyes. Smeared lipstick. A stale Starbucks sandwich barely touched next to her. And she’s coping in whatever way she can. I don’t know whether I should admire or pity her. Honey, it doesn’t have to be that bad. Come back to the light.”

“Whoever she is, she’s inspired some ideas for sure. I want donkey milk in my product.”

“Likely the Head of Editorial at ‘Unmentionable Corporate Skincare Company,’ she is required to generate compelling marketing lines in an instant to meet her non-stop fire-drill deadlines. She clearly created the tool for her own use.”

“I think it’s Kim*.”
*Bartlett Brand’s Director of Editorial, who has been wearing a lot of black and looking particularly suspicious.

The theories swarmed. She’s an ex-executive who has gone off the deep end. An intern who matched too many coffees to an exact Pantone swatch. She’s long gone, probably started her own business now and barely remembers creating the site.


Evidence #5


The Conclusion?

The truth is, we may never know. For all of our investigative and technical prowess, we find ourselves completely empty handed save for an itch that’s bordering on rosacea and a button that we can’t stop clicking: generate, generate, generate.

And so we’ve reached a dilemma: at this point, do we even want to find the truth? We’ve created a woman, or man, who can become whatever skin care hero we need, who can channel any frustration we might feel, who can feed endless good ideas. Are we prepared to ruin that?

Yes. We’re on the hunt now, tomorrow, ten years into the future. And we want your help.

Flex your own investigative muscles. The site is set to expire in June. Open up that thing called The Internet, make some phone calls, talk in whispers to your beauty friends. We want to know what you know.

Maybe you can help us decide our next step. We’ve discovered that, while the mystery person’s information is sheet masked, we can send an email to her Panamanian security company. Should we reach out in hopes of finally finding the answer that has proven so elusive, or will we risk pushing her on the run—along with her mascara?

Let us know your discoveries.
Together, we can find our Missing Skincare Ipsum.

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