Almost nothing makes me happier than a brightly painted car. Too many of them on the roads these days are white, gray, black or beige. Give me candy-apple red. Electric blue. Honeyed gold. Screaming tangerine. And then give it to me as a nail polish so I can wear it around everywhere.
Such is the latest from Renault, which introduced four new nail polishes that correspond with Twingo paint shades this week. But they are not just nail polish: Renault says that they can double as touch-up paint for small scuffs on the car.
Here’s the promotional video:
The nail polish, sold here, costs €8.90, which is about $10. It’s more than I’m willing to pay for a bottle, but also I don’t own a Twingo so I’d be missing out on the touch-up paint aspect of it.
What I failed to understand was how the ingredients used in a nail polish would respond to being painted across clearcoat. Would it last as long as normal car paint? Would there be any adverse effects? Similarly, would using a nail polish that presumably has car paint ingredients in it harm human fingernails? I reached out to Renault for answers and will update if I hear back.
The Twingo polish wasn’t met with resounding enthusiasm, however. Automotive News Europe reports that some pointed out the apparent sexism of the whole idea:
The marketing campaign was criticized by some social media users and women’s rights campaigners.
The promotion “reduces women to their beauty concerns and their inability to drive” said Marie-Noelle Bas, the head of the French feminist collective Chiennes de Garde. “This insidious, ordinary, daily sexism lays the groundwork for the worst as ads confine women to a constructed role.”
Renault also attracted criticism on Twitter for suggesting that matching the color of their nails with their car was a priority for women.
Renault defended itself by telling Automotive News, saying that “Twingo cars target “urban women who enjoy customization of their cars,” a Renault spokesman said, noting that the video didn’t show a woman who can’t park properly.”
Okay. Looking past this man’s dumb hypothetical (you couldn’t think of a better defense, dude?), I actually have to agree. I personally didn’t pick up anything sexist about the nail polish ad. If you drive your Twingo in the city, it’s going to get banged up. Having something small and handy to fix that is a nice idea.
Indeed, the press release says as much:
In a world where motoring in built-up areas can entail the risk of picking up small scratches and scrapes, it is sometimes hard to keep pristine vehicle paintworks free of marks. Happily, this clever new nail polish doubles up as a handy solution doe touching up body finishes with a single brush stroke.
Twingo Nail Polish is an innovation that seeks to embellish and facilitate the lives of lady drivers and is easy to carry in any handbag, unless – of course – their manfriends take a shine to it!
Because yes, women aren’t the only ones who enjoy nail polish—men do, too! Could this ad and press release have targeted those men as well? Probably. But nowhere did I see the ad “reducing women to their beauty concerns and their inability to drive.” It was not patronizing at all, like a certain other tone-deaf car company was from little while back.
We enjoy looking nice and enjoying cool accessories just like anybody does. And that doesn’t mean we prioritize matching nails with car—though that’s a nerdy plus. I for one absolutely love the idea of having a shade of car paint as a nail polish and I’m sure many other people would as well.
Now, I wonder if I can bottle that gorgeous Volvo Polestar Swedish racing green...