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Friday, April 19, 2024

Lush leaving social media could mark the beginning of a new trend

The ethically-focused cosmetic company cites concerns over negative mental health impacts as their reasoning behind the decision 

By CLARA FISCHER — arts@theaggie.org

Prominent body and skincare company Lush Cosmetics recently made the decision to almost entirely remove their corporate presence from social media. In a statement released on their website, the brand revealed that as of Nov. 26, they would be leaving Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok.

The accounts haven’t been deleted, so social media users can still scroll through content that has been posted prior to the company’s departure from the aforementioned apps. In a story highlight posted to the Lush Cosmetics Instagram account, the brand informed followers that “[they] will remain active on channels that have shown a willingness to change or adapt their practices to prioritize the safety of their users, like Youtube, Twitter and Pinterest.”

 The move has been met with mixed feedback — some commend the brand for showing their dedication to the issues they promote, while others are less convinced and see it as a strategic move on the businesses part. 

It’s worth noting, however, that the move does genuinely seem aligned with the brand’s core values. Lush propagates practices built on ethics, and is well-known for being politically involved

“Over recent years especially, people are looking for authenticity in a brand and more transparency. Most brands are political in some way but keep it hidden,” said Simone Constantine, head of buying at Lush, in an online interview with The Guardian.

Most also know the cosmetic company for its emphasis on environmentalism, clean ingredients, transparency surrounding supply chains and commitment to ending animal testing. Clearly, the brand is not shy with its political views, and has even made them a part of their business model. The shift away from social media seems to make sense for them (even when considering that they are estimated to lose about $10 million in sales), but will other, less outwardly socially conscious companies be bold enough to follow their lead?

“People are looking for brands living their values and prioritizing the right kind of relationship with customers rather than any relationship for easy bucks,” said Sabrina McPherson, senior MD and management consultant lead for consumer products at Publicis Sapient, in an article written for Vogue Business. 

It’s certainly possible that other brands will follow Lush’s suit, though it’s hard to say who will be the first to make the risky move. Leading brands in the fashion world have already started turning away from marketing powered by social media hype, but it remains to be seen how many will hit the ground running on the anti-social-media front.

Instagram and Facebook have come under heated scrutiny recently for research that supports the idea that the platforms specifically have a negative impact on the mental health of teenage girls. In a presentation slide formulated by The Wall Street Journal, it was reported that among teenagers who reported suicidal thoughts, 13% of British Instagram users and 6% of American Instagram users traced these desires back to the app. 

“There is now overwhelming evidence we are being put at risk when using social media. I’m not willing to expose my customers to this harm, so it’s time to take it out of the mix,” said Mark Constantine, co-founder and CEO of Lush Cosmetics, in the company’s electronically published social media statement

With new research coming out at an increasing rate, it seems critical that companies stick to their guns, especially if they claim to have ethical values at heart. Lush is sending a clear message to anyone listening — they’re tuned in to social issues, and don’t seek to promote a facade of activism without sparking action behind it.

Written by: Clara Fischer — arts@theaggie.org

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