We Are Sunshine

Real Simple Magazine Sells Editorial Space to Sun Scare Giant

Wednesday, July 30th, 2008

If you still don’t think the $35 billion “sun scare” industry affects the editorial integrity of magazines that accept their advertising dollars, look no further than the June issue of Real Simple magazine. It’s an excellent example of how “sun scare” propaganda has leaked beyond traditional beauty magazines.

2008-07-29-real-simple-tanningnews-copy.jpgReal Simple, a Time Inc. affiliate magazine, totally sold out in its June magazine in a blatant way that we’ve come to expect from beauty magazines, but seldom see in magazines the public believes have editorial independence and integrity,” Smart Tan Vice President Joseph Levy said. “It is outrageous to think that people will read those articles not realizing they were completely paid for and that Real Simple completely sold out.”

Take a look at the page line-up from Real Simple’s June magazine – staff written articles blatantly promoting the ads on the pages that followed:

  • Page 90: A test written by Real Simple writer Stephanie Abramson about sunscreens – the answers to which benefit the advertiser on page 91.
  • Page 91: A full-page ad for Neutrogena about Helioplex SPF lotions, which now feature an SPF 85 product.
  • Page 92: Abramson wrote a true-or-false questionnaire whose answers tell readers to use products with Neutrogena’s ingredients, to read expiration dates on sunscreen bottles, to wear sunscreen under cover-up clothing and for dark-skinned people to wear sunscreen.
  • Page 93: A full-page ad for Neutrogena SPF 45 daily moisturizer.
  • Page 94: Real Simple introduces six SPF products, including products manufactured by Johnson & Johnson, which makes Neutrogena.
  • Page 95: A full-page ad for Neutrogena SPF 30 hand cream with the headline, “When your hands look younger, so do you.”
  • Page 96: Real Simple writes, “Protect Your Face” reviewing more Johnson & Johnson and Neutrogena products.
  • Page 97: A full-page ad for Neutrogena facial make-up with SPF 20.

“It is unlikely to believe that Real Simple’s writers weren’t influenced to cover the stories the way they did based on the products that were promoted in advertising on the very next pages,” Levy said. “Because the daily usage of sunscreen is not supported by independent research, it’s shameful that Real Simple has sold its integrity this way.”

Click here to read Real Simple’s “sun scare” stories on line.