Is It Just Me or Is This Dermablend Ad Kind Of Charming?

Baby, he was born this way.

Oct 21, 2011 at 6:00pm | Leave a comment

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Dermablend has put together a really compelling promotional clip for their professional tattoo primer and cover. The campaign asks, "How do you judge a book?" I recognized the dude in it immediately, even with all that makeup.

It’s Zombie Boy, real name Rick Genest, the tattoo-covered Canadian best known for participating in a pas de deux with a similarly made-up Lady Gaga in the latter’s head-trip of a video for “Born This Way.” 

Basically, the hook of this clip is that this is a guy covered in tattoos that folks usually mistake for makeup, because for many of us the idea of permanently transforming ourselves in such a way that makes us perpetual social outsiders is... well, unimaginable. Not so for Mr. Genest, a performance artist who believes the world needs more freaks in it. 

I dig Rick Genest. I even dig his tattoos. And I respect his commitment to standing out in a crowd.

The ad is effective because wow, that Dermablend professional tattoo cover really, really works. But it’s also fascinating on a cultural level, because it is only via the application of makeup that Genest becomes “normal” -- obviously not a state he values -- to a culture that elevates the ability to quietly fit in as a worthwhile life aspiration. In this case, the makeup, or the “mask,” is the face that looks ordinary. The real face is the one with the zombie skeleton on it. It’s a thought-provoking reversal of conventional wisdom in which the before is actually the after. We all know how much I dig that.

What do y’all think? Am I overthinking this clip? It’s memorable, if nothing else.