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Burt’s Bees Knows You Love ‘Little Women’ and Bearded Old Men


Image: Instagram/BurtsBeesUS

File Burt's Bees' new 6-Second Classics Vine series under 'Marketing Initiatives That Definitely Worked On Me.' Immediately after discovering the brand's clipped take on the novel, Little Women (below), I sent it to three people. And now I'm sharing it here: 

The short video shows five tubes of Burt's Bees classic chapstick dressed in as the characters of Little Women, the 19th century American novel. The frame zooms in on two of the figures, who are shown in conversation. 

"We really are quite little," says the first. 

"And each of us women!" replies the second, inanely. 

The absurdist humor of the clip is well-suited for the Internet, where everything is meaningless and repetitive and still endlessly captivating. That's one of the video's advantages. 

As for the other advantages: I'm not sure whether this is a universal experience, but Burt's Bees chapstick was one of the first 'It' items I ever come in contact with. At a certain point when I was in elementary school, nearly every girl in my class acquired one of the little yellow tubes. We sported them in the back pockets of our jeans and spent our days fidgeting with them. You would pull it out and swipe the chapstick across your lips whenever, all the time — in class, at lunch, while having a conversation. I always peeled off my labels and envied girls that didn't.

Image: Instagram/BurtsBeesUS

Image: Instagram/BurtsBeesUS

I read Little Women in the same environment, surrounded by the same people. I'd bet many other young women of my generation first became aware of Burt's Bees around the time they read the classic novel, and seeing the two linked in the brand's Vine video might affect them the way it affected me, triggering a flood of visceral memories. It's a subtle and clever way to play into 90s kid nostalgia — currently a dominant Internet theme. 

Burt's Bees is playing into another kind of nostalgia with its Instagram, which launched just a week ago. The skincare brand got the reclusive founder — yes, Burt himself — to come out of hiding and pose for a series of weirdly glamorous photographs with his dog. I (happily) don't have the same kind of Proustian associations with bearded old men that I do with the Little Women, but the photo series is still very nicely done. A+