Lush drops police spies campaign following criticism

By Simon Pitman contact

- Last updated on GMT

Lush drops police spies campaign following criticism
UK-based cosmetics player has never been shy of including controversial or politically charged topics in its marketing, but a campaign criticising undercover police operations seems to have gone too far.

The move to drop the campaign was announced by Lush executives earlier this week, after more than 100 Lush store windows throughout the UK were decorated to support the controversial Police Spies Out of Lives campaign.

The campaign was launched at the end of May, but met with immediate criticism, which was led by the Police Federation Union and backed up by the British some members of the public through social media.

Campaign led to #flushlush

The social media campaign against Lush resulted in the hashtag #flushlush, which gained significant momentum online as a growing number of social media users supported it.

Initially Lush executives announced that they were giving the campaign a period of review, before finally announcing at the beginning of this week that the company would withdraw the campaign from all of its stories with immediate effect.  

The details of the campaign, which were highlighted in the Lush shop fronts and in-store, included signs that stated police officers were “paid to lie” enhanced by crime scene tape containing the print “police have crossed the line.”

The idea behind the campaign

The campaign was focused on allegations that leftist, anti-racism groups and environmental activists were targeted by undercover police officer who closely monitored their activities.

It is claimed that in some of the cases, undercover officers took false identities and established close long-term relationships with the individuals under surveillance in order to win their trust.

An ongoing public inquiry is underway into the behaviour of the undercover police and the way in which the operation was conducted, which has won considerable support from human rights campaigners.

Not the first time Lush has courted controversy

In 2015 the Lush Australia marketing team came up with an ad campaign that featured naked women to highlight awareness of unnecessary and excess packaging.

And in the same year Lush UK saw its Lavender Hill Mob incense come under fire with a backlash on social media after some accused it of cashing in on the London riots.

At the time Lush executives responded by that while it was inspired by the events of 2011, it was a ‘celebration’ of the public response to them.

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