Controversial Lush Cosmetics Campaign Seeks to Promote Positivity

Article by Nikki Childers | esPResso Staff Writer

Lush Cosmetics recently launched their “We Prefer to Go Naked” campaign in an effort to promote both positive body image and the fact the company is no longer using plastic packaging for products. Though the campaign was geared toward a positive approach, it largely gained negative attention from its consumers taking to social media.

The campaign’s advertisement featured four nude females, who work for the company, with their backsides turned toward the viewer. In a society where pushing the envelope has become more tolerated, the Lush Cosmetics campaign was not going to cut it for some consumers.

A compliant written to the Advertising Standards Bureau regarding the advertisement stated “It is pornographic in nature and breaches community and parental standards of what should be involuntarily viewed in public by children and adults.”

The advertisement of the ladies from the cosmetic company was not photoshopped, and looked different from what their normal fan base is used to seeing. Lush Cosmetics issued a statement in rebuttal to all the negative complaints.

“The women in the images are members of the Lush team, who felt strongly about this issue. The image is completely untouched, as we feel that we should not be ashamed of our bodies in their natural state, and that every single one of us is beautiful in our diversity.”

Lush has since removed the ad from several of its major shopping mall locations worldwide, despite many consumers asking the company to continue to run it. The old saying of, “there is no such thing as bad publicity”, does not ring true in this case. While the campaign aimed to take a positive approach, the end result was a mix of both positive and negative online responses.

Often times it’s the negative publicity that gets picked up by the media, and becomes the image that sticks with most people. The campaign’s negative publicity damaged the company’s search engine optimization. Due to the exploitation of the women being tied to the company’s name.

These tactics in theory are good for the sole purpose of gaining attention from both the media and consumers. However, breaking away from the norm is a double edged sword. Once a reputation is established, consumers have a certain expectancy from the brand to uphold. If those expectancies change, it can ultimately do more harm than good and hurt the company’s reputation.

The interpretation of the advertisement as being empowerment or distasteful is up to the viewers discussion. If Lush Cosmetics fully banned the ad, it would have been counterproductive, as part of their cause is raising awareness for self-acceptance.

Photo Credit: Tony Webster

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