Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Today’s Video: Cleaner, thinner and taller?

British broadcaster Louis Theroux is best known for his documentaries where he involves himself in the story. His style of "gonzo journalism" has seen him cover a range of subjects including covering the family at the center of the controversial Westboro Baptist Church and, most recently, immersing himself in the Miami prison system.

One of his earliest pieces aired in 1992 as part of the Michael Moore-hosted TV show "TV Nation." In the clip below, Theroux looked at the business of selling Avon cosmetics to Brazilians living in the Brazilian rain forest. The tone of the video is not heavy-handed but it does reveal the deceptive techniques used by the firm to sell its concept of beauty to mostly impoverished households in the Amazon. (One Brazilian Avon saleswoman even believes that a best-selling cream can makes its customers taller).

(Note: the segment begins around the 0:45 mark).

Theroux's fortunes have improved since that video first aired nineteen years ago as he continues airing his specials on the BBC. Meanwhile, Avon has expanded its operations not only in Brazil but also Latin America; according to Reuters the region was Avon's "largest unit" accounting for 42% of global sales in 2010.

Video Source - YouTube
Online Sources - Wikipedia, Reuters

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