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Chemical Reaction: Cognitive Dissonance

By: Steve Herman
Posted: October 10, 2008, from the January 2006 issue of GCI Magazine.

page 3 of 3

StriVectin’s package has a medicinal design and only mentions stretch marks, creating an intentional dissonance between the marketing message and the packaging message. The active component of StriVectin is Striadril Complex, the components of which are shown in Table 1. The key ingredient is palmitoyl pentapeptide-3, which is the active ingredient in several brands of advanced skin treatment products. It is StriVectin’s packaging, lack of direct wrinkle-treatment claims, and insider-secret mystique that sets it apart and fuels its commercial success.

Klein-Becker and the U. S. Food and Drug Administration are in discussions regarding the “Better Than Botox” slogan and the drug-like claims of StriVectin. This reminds us of the ultimate cognitive dissonance of our industry—the cosmeceutical category, a US$12.4 billion sector that officially doesn’t exist. Leon Festinger would remind us that the presence of irreconcilable ideas creates a motivating force that leads to the adjustment of our beliefs to fit our behavior. Consequently, we believe in cosmeceuticals.


  • B Walker, Smooth Move, The New York Times Magazine, March 27, 2005