Why Does Mary Kay Use Slogans?

Written by Raisinberry

Yesterday I talked about the various slogans and one-liners that Mary Kay directors and NSDs use to get consultants to stop thinking for themselves. Today we look at the purpose behind using slogans.

Mary Kay corporate has a symbiotic relationship with the upper sales force.

They rarely put in print, anymore, the slogans that NSDs model to directors to repeat to beauty consultants. That might make them accountable. Those quippy slogans deflect the consultant’s real concerns about their businesses, the career path, and the inconsistencies they see between what “Mary Kay says” and what Mary Kay (the corporation) does, which is, create dissatisfaction in women.

Ironically Mary Kay today functions like a “straw man.” All NSDs teach a recruiting script that calls for the director to create dissatisfaction in the lives of guests and new consultants by baiting them with prizes, glamour, sorority, independence, focusing on their unappreciated work and family life.

Directors exclude consultants from “being in” and then using that exclusion, appeal to their need to belong. (Want to be in with the Big Girls?) Directors rarely room with consultants, heightening their exclusivity.

Corporate sets up the hierarchy of titles, designations and apparel to continue that dissatisfaction. Subtly controlling the dialogue between sales force and sale leaders by repetition of slogans and refusing to listen to anything that could be construed as “negative,” the beauty consultant measures herself against whoever appears to be “making it.” She rarely gets any real answers, but she is constantly prodded with comparing herself to others.

She will always come up short, because unless a person is working her MK business 24/7, 365 days a year, there will ALWAYS be a nagging doubt that she “could have done more.”

Mary Kay has put in motion one of the most negative environments possible for a women. They have flamed the fires of her insecurity, and then pretend to be her savior. Read that line again. Mary Kay flaunts the “achievements” of others and baits the typical consultant to want the suit, the car, the blouse, the better blouse, the beads, the ring, the stage, the luncheon, the dinner, all sold to us as “achievement recognition,” when it is actually performance manipulation, since the “achievements” are nothing more than manipulating women into ordering!

During my directorship there were at least 4 to 7 different “promotions” running concurrently at any given time, from the company and my national… none of them based on tracking actual retail sales and turning in sales receipts. Remember the old slogan “inspect what you expect”? That’s a slogan that was never used for retail recordkeeping among consultants or Directors.

By selling us all that the Pink Bubble was actually our salvation and safety, we never look at Mary Kay’s business model for what it really is. If we ask to see real sales activity proof, we are “negative” and “difficult” and taxes are private information and we “just don’t get it.”

As long as the slogans work to numb our minds and stop our questions, Mary Kay trudges along capitalizing on the insecurities and the dissatisfaction it has manufactured in us from guest night to grave.

Like a software company that sells virus protection while secretly releasing the virus, Mary Kay sells itself as the ultimate provider of “financial security” while robbing that security in endless phony contests for cheap trinkets and peer recognition that have nothing to do with real sales and real financial security.

From the minute you walk into your first guest event until the day you recognize what has really happened to you, you are bombarded with images of what you do not have, what you are supposed to strive for, what you “lack,” all the while believing that what “others” have achieved is true.

You feel dissatisfaction within yourself, when if the truth be known, you are comparing your performance to the deceitful performance of others who can not admit what they have done, while testifying to all things grand and good in Mary Kay!

The longer you are in, the more you know. Veteran directors know exactly how those Unit Clubs come together and how national areas are built . They go to “Leadership” to snooze and swim, and make an appearance because their offspring are watching. New directors go to classes with baited breath… mostly to learn how to put a good meeting together and orchestrate the right ordering promotions. The newbies just want an answer and reassurance that they will be able to dig out of the debt they’re in.

So. Who wants you “bee”-lieving? Who wants you striving, and feeling like you never do enough? You guessed it. All of Mary Kay is carefully crafted to make you long for acceptance and recognition within your Unit – then your Area – and then, within the company. You pursue this “being a team player” by regurgitating the slogans that quiet your mind and keep you “plugged in”… while you go for the Caddy, the cruise, the blouse, the charm, the head table.

If the achievement was real… like the Super Bowl or winning a gold medal for the best time, the carrots dangling in front of us would simply be motivators. But this contest is who can rack up the most women who will order large amounts of inventory, sell off a portion, and sit on the rest in hopes that ONE DAY, she will “work harder” and try again. Brilliant!

And here is the bigger tragedy. If a director actually did achieve in honorable ways… who would believe her after all we’ve seen? Mary Kay is guilty of preferring this way of doing business in order to reap the most profit, knowing full well what fraud exists. They simply make more money, letting it go on. They do not require sales tickets because it would prove how fancifully they lie.

They grabbed us by exaggerating dissatisfaction in our lives, and then continued to play that card all through our careers, using slogans and “positive mental attitude” to lock us in for as long as possible, hoping that what they were promising the sale force would come to pass.

And while we proceeded on, destroying our financial security to make their profit, we rationalized that a company this good would never take advantage of us. We could not have been more foolish or more wrong. The one slogan we have all heard years ago, before we ever got in to this, does remain to be true. “If it sounds too good to be true, it isn’t.” Simply put, Mary Kay isn’t too good to be true because it is not good.


  1. Thank you Raisinberry. Reading your post brings up this iconic movie line for me:

    “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.”

  2. At the end of the day, they do it for the reason companies that last do anything: it works. The sloganeering, the manipulation, the appeals to vanity and greed and jealousy, have sucked people into cults and fringe political movements for ages. Even today it’s fueling things like the “pickup artists” and “men’s rights” movement and, yes, keeping MLMs going.

    It makes me think of a project one of my sisters had to do in high school. They had to illustrate a saying and she picked “all that glitters is not gold”. She got our other sister, who’s a much better artist, to draw the false front of a big fancy mansion with a tiny shack in the back propping it up, and a slimy Teapot Dome type selling it to some poor shlub holding a big sack of $$$.

    And that’s why they need all of the bullpoopie – not only to make everyone want to earn a room in the huge glittering mansion, but to keep everyone who’s made it through the door from warning those outside that it’s really only a little shack… and they don’t want to admit that they bought into the false front and spent a fortune for just the shack so they brag on about how they’re living in luxury…

    Meanwhile, he’s got guards and mean dogs and Ellen Bowman Cox guarding the sides and exit to threaten any of the “residents” who might be taking it into their heads to leave, or at least peek around the edges of the false front to see if there’s anything even sort of mansionlike back there. The coercion and manipulation come back into play to herd them back into the shack, feeling ashamed for doubting the nice slimy landlord. Plus he gives you little trinkets for your someday-room, like a toilet paper cozy (sans paper) or some sealing wax (sans paper) so he must be sincere, right? Even though nearly everyone gets sick of living in a shack and leaves on the sly, there’s always people willing to take their place, right?

    But as long as he can keep conning the money out of people, and rely on those within to keep the others in line, he’s never going to do a darn thing to the shack because he doesn’t have to.

    Speaking of toilet paper cozies, we had those growing up. We were not allowed to use the toilet paper inside the cozies, even to pull it out and put a new roll in later. My mother somehow always knew, and was displeased. We also had towels we weren’t allowed to use, and decorative soaps, which in the moist environment of the bathroom would get sticky and filthy over time, so she would Wash. The decorative soaps. That we weren’t allowed to wash with. Yes, I’ve had years of therapy; why do you ask?

  3. This all hits the nail on the proverbial head. Sowing the seeds of dissatisfaction, constantly comparing yourself to others, the DECEIT… I didn’t see it all until I was walking away for good. I didn’t see how bad it all truly was and how toxic things were to me and others, especially my family.

    Popinki is right — it’s a shack with a mansion facade. “It’s a literal mansion, y’all!” screams Jamie Taylor when talking about Princess Chels’s new digs. It’s Ellen Bowman Cox and others taking potshots and being nasty to those questioning the validity of the pink bubble surrounding the mansion. It’s corporate with carrots/carats, encouraging orders without actual retail sales. (Plus, those carats turn your fingers black.)

  4. In one of her books, Mary Kay BRAGS about the heirarchy she created and how it keeps the women “striving” to get one rung up.

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