VIVA MAC: AIDS, Fashion, and the Philanthropic Practices of MAC Cosmetics

By Andrea Benoit

© 2019

The first cultural history of the iconic brand M·A·C Cosmetics, VIVA M·A·C charts the evolution of M·A·C’s revolutionary corporate philanthropy around HIV/AIDS awareness. Drawing upon exclusive interviews with M·A·C co-founder Frank Toskan, key journalists, and fashion insiders, Andrea Benoit tells the fascinating story of how M·A·C’s unique style of corporate social responsibility emerged from specific cultural practices, rather than being part of a strategic marketing plan.

Benoit delves into the history of the M·A·C AIDS Fund and its signature VIVA GLAM fundraising lipstick, which featured drag performer RuPaul and singer k.d. lang in its first advertising campaigns. This lively chronicle reveals how M·A·C managed to not only defy the stigma associated with AIDS that alarmed many other corporations, but to engage in highly successful AIDS advocacy while maintaining its creative and fashionable authority.

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Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 304 pages
  • Illustrations: 30
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 1.0in x 9.0in
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SKU# SP004409

  • PUBLISHED APR 2019

    From: $19.47

    Regular Price: $29.95

    ISBN 9781487520281
  • PUBLISHED MAY 2019

    From: $60.00

    Regular Price: $80.00

    ISBN 9781487500405
  • PUBLISHED MAY 2019

    From: $19.47

    Regular Price: $29.95

Quick Overview

This is the first cultural history of M·A·C Cosmetics and charts the originally Canadian company’s philanthropy around HIV/AIDS awareness and fundraising during the revitalization of the Toronto fashion industry, the rise of the AIDS epidemic in North America, and the commodification of social causes during the 1980s and 1990s.

VIVA MAC: AIDS, Fashion, and the Philanthropic Practices of MAC Cosmetics

By Andrea Benoit

© 2019

The first cultural history of the iconic brand M·A·C Cosmetics, VIVA M·A·C charts the evolution of M·A·C’s revolutionary corporate philanthropy around HIV/AIDS awareness. Drawing upon exclusive interviews with M·A·C co-founder Frank Toskan, key journalists, and fashion insiders, Andrea Benoit tells the fascinating story of how M·A·C’s unique style of corporate social responsibility emerged from specific cultural practices, rather than being part of a strategic marketing plan.

Benoit delves into the history of the M·A·C AIDS Fund and its signature VIVA GLAM fundraising lipstick, which featured drag performer RuPaul and singer k.d. lang in its first advertising campaigns. This lively chronicle reveals how M·A·C managed to not only defy the stigma associated with AIDS that alarmed many other corporations, but to engage in highly successful AIDS advocacy while maintaining its creative and fashionable authority.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 304 pages
  • Illustrations: 30
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 1.0in x 9.0in
  • Reviews

    "With her extensive and illuminating research, Andrea Benoit tells the powerful story of a fearless company with heart. Harnessing the unbridled creativity that ran rampant in Toronto during M•A•C’s formative years, ‘the Franks’ tapped into the pride and psyche of an entire society and inspired it to new artistic heights. Despite AIDS's dark shadow, Benoit paints a compelling portrait of an exhilarating fashion era, illustrating how courage and compassion can exist on a corporate level when hearts and minds are open and passionate."


    Jeanne Beker, Journalist, Author, and Style Editor

    "This is a story that needs to be told. Todays’ generation of fashion students have no history of the losses the industry faced in the 1980s-1990s as the AIDs epidemic was ravishing every level of the fashion and the arts industries. VIVA M·A·C gives them a thorough account of how we got to where we are today."


    Susan Baxter, associate professor of Marketing and Dean of Graduate Studies, LIM College

    "The book is highly original as there is no other socio-cultural or business history of MAC. Benoit fuses a detailed historical record of MAC, AIDs within a setting of entrepeneurship and the Toronto fashion scene in a readable and enjoyable style that is framed within relevant critical theories that support and explain these histories that have not previously been delineated. This is a work that should be much referenced."


    Alexandra Palmer, Nora E. Vaughan Senior Curator, Textiles & Costume, Royal Ontario Museum

    "What happens when a company engages in ‘cause marketing’ long before that concept was widely known or practiced? Benoit’s study of MAC and AIDS-related fundraising during the 1980s and 1990s tells this fascinating story with panache, analytical rigour, and far-ranging historical investigation. This crisply written, multi-disciplinary account will interest scholars in such fields as health and society, LGBTQ studies, critical consumer/marketing studies, fashion history, and media studies."


    Daniel J. Robinson, Associate Professor, Media Studies, Western University

  • Author Information

    Andrea Benoit is the Academic Review Officer in the Faculty of Arts & Science at the University of Toronto, and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Media Studies in the Faculty of Information and Media Studies at the University of Western Ontario.
  • Table of contents

    Prologue: Rise Up
    Introduction: Face Value: Beyond the Surface of Brand Philanthropy and the Cultural Production of the M.A.C AIDS Fund

    Part I: Spaces of Original Possibilities
    1. The Kitchen Sink
    2. Fashion Capital
    3. Caring is Never Out of Fashion

    Part II: Creative Activism
    4. Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is
    5. Selling Out
    6. Dragging Theory into Practice

    Epilogue: The Brightest Jewel in Our Crown