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[whitespace] Emotion Lotion

Clinique promises sensual satisfaction, but will it still love you tomorrow?

By Cory Feldman

Subtlety is rare when it comes to the marketing of "orgasmic" shampoos or life-changing lotions, but there should be a limit to the pandering. It's easy to question the scruples behind most campaigns targeted at undersexed, naive consumers. Bucking such cynicism, Clinique has launched a new line of products promising "Great Skin All-over With the Joy of Getting There." Of course implicit is the promise of being satisfied down there.

Because "we yearn for different experiences at different times," Clinique has bi-polarized its bath products. One strain is sensual and soothing, the other invigorating and evocative. Both come in a tri-tube process that includes exfoliant, shower gel and moisturizer.

The Creamy/Comforting Line includes Soft Body Exfoliator, a pale peach cream that spreads easily all over the body, priming skin for ...moisturizer. Skin Cushion Body Wash is a pearly rose cream mousse that vows to leave you "pampered and coddled without ever feeling heavy or occlusive." (The 10-ounce container will also laugh at your jokes and stroke your ego!) Last but not least is Deep Comfort Body Moisture, which comes in buttery yellow. If only it made breakfast ...

Companion to Creamy Comfort is the Cool/Refreshing Line. The Sparkle Skin Body Exfoliator is a Caribbean-blue gel that "generates a sense of refreshment and exhilaration." Instant Energy Body Wash feels like the quick bump of shower gels. And the mint-green Cool Lustre Body Moisture is a cooling lotion.

The unrealistic promise of sparkly skin and instant energy isn't all that's questionable here. It's taking advantage of vulnerable consumers who long for an all-day tingle in a tube, not to mention using lines that boyfriends are supposed to say on Valentine's Day. A lotion that makes you feel "sheltered and calmed"? If only.

In defense of Clinique's ambitious ad campaign, the products are up to par. Since the days of Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion, the company has brought the finest in skin care to mall makeup counters. But consumers need to recognize that Clinique's creamy, exhilarating pampering is only skin deep .

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From the February 7, 2000 issue of the Metropolitan.

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