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Lush's campaign for Guantanamo Bay closure criticised

By Katie Bird , 12-Mar-2008

The latest charity campaign by handmade bath and beauty products company Lush has been criticised as 'tasteless' and in support of terrorists.

The UK-based company launched a campaign last week in conjunction with human rights charity Reprieve to support the fight to close the Guantanamo Bay prison.

 

 

 

Bath ball supports closure of the prison

 

 

In order to publicise the cause Lush released a bath ball coloured orange as a reference to the inmates' infamous orange overalls.

 

 

 

The ball tells the story of the hope and despair of the inmates of Guantanamo Bay, in particular the creation of a secret garden by some of the prisoners using seeds from their everyday meals inspiring the product's name, Guantanamo Garden.

 

 

 

When placed in the bath the ball fizzes, dissolving to release a hidden photo of two of Guantanamo's inmates Al Jareeza News camera man Sami Al Haj and British resident Binyam Mohamed, with a note to urge consumers to take action and visit the Reprieve site.

 

 

 

Tasteless publicity stunt

 

 

However, the UK's shadow minister for culture, media and sport Tobias Ellwood believes the campaign is a tasteless publicity stunt, according to press reports.

 

 

 

The brother of the Conservative MP was killed in the Bali bombings and the major suspect for the attack is being held in the notorious prison.

 

 

 

"Why are Lush doing this? Is it because they want to promote themselves by using a controversial subject or is it because they have a genuine concern for the prisoners of Guantanamo Bay? I suggest it is the former rather than the latter. I think the whole idea is tasteless," said Ellwood as quoted by British newspaper The Daily Mail.

 

 

 

Ellwood added that he felt there were better ways of educating the younger consumer base of Lush about international terrorism.

 

 

 

In response to criticisms that the bath ball proceeds were in support of international terrorists, Andrew Butler, campaigns manager for Lush, confirmed that one hundred per cent of the proceeds from the product, exclusive of the VAT, go directly to the charity Reprieve.

 

 

 

Lush founder Mark Constantine explained the company's involvement in the cause at the start of the campaign.

 

 

 

"Because Lush is a cosmetics company we normally campaign over the rights of mice and rabbits being harmed in pointless and cruel safety experiments, but when humans are being treated worse than rats in a cage we knew it was time to launch an initiative to close Guantánamo," he said.

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