Why I give a Thumbs Down to L’oreal Kajal Magique and Other Rants

At the outset, when you see this attractive little thing, reasonable priced at Rs. 245, you think WOW, this is what I’ve been looking for – the perfect dark kajal, which would make all others look pale in comparison. Btw, one swipe and you realize the only thing that you realize that is pale – is your eyes.

Anyway, so this is how it happens. You watch the promos in midst of mummyji’s favorite saas-bahu show and in one instant you and mummuji are both absolutely mesmerized by Aishwarya’s eyes beautifully accentuated by ‘this’ dark kajal. “Whao man this looks pretty good”, you catch yourself thinking. Wokey, so let’s go the store and pick this off the shelf. In any case, you are tired of struggling with Maybelline’sollosal kajal because you realize there is nothing collosal about it besides it’s claims to be a darkest of dark kajal. 

loreal magique kajal

So, the next day you make a dash to the store or to the mall to grab this ethereal piece. The description – “Get over ordinary kajals, L’Oreal Paris Kajal Magique – the queen of kajals has arrived. Step into the spotlight and let your eyes do the talking“, further convinces you that this “the” dark kajal to have for your eyes.  Let’s say, while you are reading this, if there happens to be a poster of Ash at the stands, the corner of your eye-balls shift almost slightly and unconsciously towards the poster. So, you are basically looking at the lithe product and the poster at the same time, making a decision with half of your eye and your mind. In those few seconds, you are swept away and are totally smitten by Aishwarya Rai’s breathtaking koheled eyes in the poster. That’s it and the magic happens. You find yourself hypnotized and drawn to the crumpled hundred rupee notes in your pretty red tote which are struggling to get out to make space for this slender looking kajal. You pay a measly sum of Rs 245 for a L’oreal kajal. Happy and can’t wait to flaunt those dark koheled eyes, as the product claims! You are also quite impressed with the fact that you have L’oreal product, don’t you. Really, you think to yourself, when did L’oreal stuff started coming that cheap. You hope, you have something which is better than Eyeconic and Collosal.

It takes less than a minute of unraveling the wonderful pack to discover how drab L’oreal Kajal is! The only magique it has been making is on your pocket and pockets of all the other girls who lurrrv wearing kajal. Oh wait! The company and the magique model, let’s not forget that!

So, after having rambled my frustration, the point really is out of all the kajals that I have used or have been using, this one is definitely the worst!!

When Maybelline’s colossol Kajal’s quality started to show it’s “true colors” or rather the lack of it, L’oreal decided to make in-roads into this particular segment with a reasonable priced Kajal, touted to be literally better than all others. While, L’oreal did a fab job at packaging and promoting the product, it forgot all about investing some time and extra-budget on developing a product which would actually – be – better than the other kajals in the market.

Reality is – that wasn’t the objective at all.  The real objective behind launching Magique was to cut the market share of their competition.

Well, those who do not know, Maybelline is a consumer product division of L’Oreal. Question is, was there a “real” need to spend thousands of dollars to launch pretty much the same quality of product under your parent name, when a part of your consumer division product group is already minting through sale of the same product? The quality of L’oreal Magique has me convinced of the fact that the objective was not to produce something better because had that been the case, they would have invested the same money in improving Collosal Kajal, but NO, it was perceptibly to eat into the market share of their competition.

Question is wouldn’t the launch of L’oreal Magique Kajal would have cannibalized Maybelline’s current market share? Well, going by consumer feedback and growing dissatisfaction with Collosal Kajal, it made sense to throw in a ‘rival’ product, which is nothing but an off-shoot of your own, balancing the revenue scales, as no extra dollars would be needed to invest in developing the product, plus, it will help the brand extend its market share. This kinda strategy is also called “Cannibalization”.

To further help you to understand,  In India, where the passenger-car segment is going up dramatically since the turn of this century, years ago, Maruti-Suzuki’s launch of Suzuki Alto in the same sub-category as Maruti 800, which was the leader of the small-car segment was to counter the competition from Hyundai is seen to be a classic case of cannibalization strategy. A company engaging in corporate cannibalism is effectively competing against itself. There are two main reasons companies do this. Firstly, the company wants to increase its market share and is taking a gamble that introducing the new product will harm other competitors more than the company itself. Secondly, the company may believe that the new product will sell better than the first, or will sell to a different sort of buyer. While both products appeal to the same general market, one may fit an individual’s needs better than the other.

Another good way of understanding this would be –

Suppose that pet-food manufacturers A, B and C offer one line of tinned cat food each, and that the customers cannot really distinguish between them, thereby giving them 33.33% share of the market, each. Suppose that manufacturer C then launches a new labelling of cat food called D. On the face of it, it cuts the market share of product C from 33.33% to 25%, but in reality the manufacturer of C now has 50% of the market share, as opposed to 25% each for its rival manufacturers, A and B.

Well, that’s strictly my view of it. That said, I as a consumer feel cheated! Besides the attractive packaging, there is nothing else that is appealing about the kajal! It is certainly not the darkest. Well, rather it is hardly dark. One needs to apply it multiple times to get the ‘dark’ look, which I frankly achieve faster with Lakme’s Eyeconic within a couple of swipes. And since I am not particularly fond of exercising the soft skin on my eye-lid and tugging at it to get the right ‘dark’ kajal look by using L’oreal Magique-uunhunh, I rather stick to something which gives me better and faster results – for the time being!

Well, I guess I am not the only one here – L’oreal has been criticized for false claims. In the UK, L’Oréal has faced criticism from OFCOM regarding the truth of their advertising and marketing campaigns concerning the product performance of one of their mascara brands. In July 2007, the British Advertising Standards Authority attacked L’Oréal for a television advert on its “Telescopic” mascara, featuring Penélope Cruz, stating “it will make your eyelashes 60% longer.” In fact, it only made the lashes look 60% bigger, by separating and thickening at the roots and by thickening the tips of the lashes. They also failed to state that the model was wearing false eyelashes. (source: Wikipedia)

At the end of the day, it seems it is WOKAY for beauty brands to make tall claims and publish pictures which make their product look outta the world because they know whether you like it or not, you would compromise and may even end up in a comfort zone with it.

That is broadly the case as we tend to NOT push for excellence or for better quality. On the other hand, for the corporate giants, it is about market-share at the end of the day and being a market leader – in terms of numbers – yes but in terms of excellence and quality? Not so much.

So, my advise – choose better to get better.

For now, I think, will stick to Lakme’s Eyeconic or maybe get my friends from old delhi to pick some good ol’ surma for me. 🙂

Either way, here’s a thumbs down to L’oreal Magique Kajal from me!