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Friday, 10 August 2012


Many of us Aussie beauty fans are now aware that Target Australia has advertised MAC Cosmetics at heavily discounted prices just this week. As low as only $5 more than our US sisters are paying.

Visits to a couple of Target stores in WA have shown me a seemingly random assortment of Studio Fix Powders (about 6 shades available) maybe 8 lipsticks, half a dozen lipglasses, and about 30 single eyeshadows, 6 powder blushes and eye kohl pencils in both Fascinating (white) and Smolder (black).

Remember what I said in this week's Illamasqua video about brand positioning? This is a perfect example of what happens with strange positioning. It's just plain weird. Kind of cheapens MAC doesn't it? Noone I've spoken to at my Target stores, even those working in the cosmetic department, knows anything about this deal, whether it's an ongoing situation or not, and especially anything about the products themselves. The whole thing just looks shifty. If I could count the number of emails, tweets, comments and YouTube messages I've received this week (and actually over the last few months since MAC was first spotted on saying, "MAC at Target??! What the....?!?", ..ummmm.... well, it would be a large number!!

And while I majored in Public Relations and know to believe pretty much anything BUT what you read (this blog excluded of course!), when a large corporation like Target goes so far as to guarantee authenticity in print and on the actual product display, and also in response to customer inquiries, I do put some faith in their dislike of litigation and paying out damages to the Estee Lauder, who may get a tad upset at the situation, not to mention damage to the brand. (conspiracy theories abound in my mind by the way, about lessons learned in buying MAC products from
anywhere but an authorized MAC store/ counter anyone? Maybe EL LOOOOOVE this, or planned it? I'll stop with this for now but still.... Anyone?)

Today I received a link to the following blogpost suspecting fakes, and whilst I don't believe a lack of logo alone is enough for a counterfeit verdict, or even the tacky, awful looking ad, consider the following photo.

On the left is a See Sheer lipstick I picked up myself from a MAC counter in the USA back in April. On the right is a See Sheer lipstick I purchased at Target today. Besides the obvious label differences, the smell is completely different. All of the 3 lipsticks I purchased from Target smell nothing like any MAC lipstick I've ever smelt before- they all have a much more chemical, "cheap lipstick-y" scent that is completely and utterly lacking in anything resembling the vanilla scent I so love MAC lipsticks for.

They do actually swatch pretty darn similar though I must say....

I decided to go and have a whiff of the oldest MAC lipsticks I have in my collection (all of which were purchased personally by me at MAC stores), and whilst all of them have lost that lovely vanilla scent, they still don't have this chemically smell that wafts from the Target 'finds'. Bit yucky!

Needless to say, I'm not shocked that there are MAC counterfeits around, but I am surprised that a corporation as large as Target would go to bat IN PRINT for their authenticity. Even at a stretch if they are in some strange way genuine, and made at the MAC factory on a day they'd run out vanilla scent (I know, I know!) but just old, that Target would source such shifty, old product in such a random assortment from an international supplier.

Sorry girls, the whole thing reeks. Kinda cheapens Target after all that really. Brand positioning....

God bless Australia and the Australian Beauty Industry.

Your thoughts, as always, are very welcome and encouraged!

- Jodi xo


  1. Fantastic post, Jodi! I've just Fb'd you about the situation, actually.
    I can't wait to see what comes of it all.

  2. I honesty think its official MAC, but I suspect its a cheaper version produced by MAC. Just like when designers release things in Target, they cut down the quality to justify the price. I know a lot of brands do this when it comes to large sales, they stock a slightly cheaper product so they don't lose much profit

  3. I agree with Sophie, great post! It is rather strange isn't it? However, it immediately makes me think of a few years ago when Isaac Mizrahi launched his Target line in the states. Completely legit "designer" clothes, on a Target budget, made with Target fabric, and Target quality. They had the air of designer, but everyone knew full well that when they wore their new dress they just might see several other women wearing the same dress, thereby whilst retaining the designer feel and "look", they were lessening the exclusivity by paying less. I reckon that when it comes to MAC, Target has secured some sort of licensing rights to branding, product names and colours, but just as you mentioned, it isn't exactly the same product (kind of like the Napoleon Perdis "NP" products that they have carried for a while - less expensive, lower quality versions of the full price department store products). I also found it interesting to see that they are saying that there are more designer brands to come. Given how the public has responded so far, this should be interesting. I think perhaps they dropped the ball on their marketing with this one - maybe we should have received some warning that this was coming so that as a community we could have a chance to embrace the idea a bit, or at the very least get used to the idea.

  4. I did hear that the batches are from 2011. So that could justify the scent, but the packaging? It really does seem strange.

  5. It's really interesting this whole debaccle. Not too sure what to make of it - I was kinda shocked when I heard they'd be selling and now a bit disappointed as people have commented that the packaging is different / the swatches aren't the same and of course the smell..
    Even if it is old stock, it should be advertised as such. I really don't think it's a similar situation as the Napoleon Perdis "NP" products. They are marketed as "NP" not the higher end version of the brand. These are still being marketed as "MAC" and so far I haven't heard mac say anything on the matter?

  6. Hi Jodi, Great Post! Just to clear up a little bit about what I said regarding lack of logos, I was more pointing it out to highlight the fact what they are doing is not totally above board - Use of a logo in advertising when it's not authorised actually leads to more of a penalty than selling the products themselves sometimes! The missing logo also seemed really quite intentional as well. MAC is being particularly silent on the matter which is odd, I personally haven't formed a view if they are real or fake products it's more that I wouldn't buy them again knowing what I do now. I think another point is that with places like strawberrynet popping up all over the shop Target it probably the first major distributor ever to get a hold of questionable stock such as this, which can potentially mean others might as well with MAC, or other brands. Totally agree the entire thing reeks though!

  7. Hey Jodi, i'm really disappointed too! I follow you on youtube and was googling on fake MAC at Target when i came across this. I'm very well informed on how fake MAC looks like from buying online often so when i was in Target today i just couldn't bring myself to purchase anything because of my doubts. The packaging has very obvious fake MAC signs. I'm so glad i didn't buy anything and feel sorry for the girl i was talking to because she purchased a few. I've been told they will also stock Bobbi Brown and when i asked they only had 2 lipsticks on offer at the moment. I'm surprised Target is taking the risk. I'd much rather pay full price then get something that's fake. If not i'll buy a cheaper brand. I still can't believe it!

  8. Jodi, I'm outraged as well as I actually spent quite a bit of money purchasing the products from Target to then find out they were fakes! Ive just written a post about it
    To think that such a large corporation would risk tarnishing their reputation is baffling to me. Luckily I was able to get a refund but I have seen posts on Target's Facebook page of other girls who weren't so lucky and a refund was denied! If we were after fake MAC products, we would have jumped on Ebay and purchased them at a quarter of the price Target is selling them for.

  9. Oooh noooo... I've never purchased any MAC product since in my country they are VEEERY expensive.... Now that I'm travelling to Australia I thought I could get some products from target, but after reading this I probably won't, I don't have any experience with MAC, so I wont be able to see if they are fake or not..... :(
    Thanks for the info!!!

  10. I find this very puzzling and cannot understand what is behind it - I mean it's not like MAC is sold at US Targets. Reminds me of the OPI (or was it Orly) at Priceline. Just odd.

  11. I have seen MAC at places like "My Beauty Spot" and they were selling discontinued eyeshadows, eyeliners and face powders. I don't think Target would jeopardise their reputation selling counterfeit goods, imagine the litigation surrounding it. It's like buying perfume at Priceline when 10 years ago you could only get YSL or Dolce/Gabbana perfumes through Myer or DJ's.

    If MAC at Target was selling below US prices then I would seriously question the legitmacy of the products. I mean $19AUD is still a lot of money to pay for one eyeshadow.

  12. I also smelled the lipsticks, but not intentionally. It waffed in my faced when i opened the lid.
    Not cool Target! i also find that the stand is not a MAC stand. They are not fooling anyone in thinking we are going to believe they are legit

  13. The whole thing is deffenatly odd that's for sure. But just for the sake of testing I went and gave my genuine 4yo Mac blankety a wee sniff and that puppy still smells like vanilla and it's just a lil nub

  14. I heard MAC came out with a statement saying they never came out with products for Target nor have they struck a deal with the company. looks dubious to me.

  15. Hey Jodi,
    Just read this in the paper today. Ummm Target have a lot of explaining to do.

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