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Beauty and politics – do they mix?
It’s not uncommon to see beauty brands aligning themselves with charities or raising awareness for topical issues. Just think about the many breast cancer products that hit the shelves come October and the various campaigns against animal testing or the promotion of environmental responsibility. But one beauty brand has taken things a step further, aligning itself with a, some might say, controversial cause.
In the UK in March, Lush launched a campaign in conjunction with human rights charity Reprieve to support the fight to close the Guantanamo Bay prison. The campaign included the sale of orange bath balls (coloured orange in reference to the inmates' orange overalls) which when dissolved, revealed a photograph of one of two Guantanamo Bay inmates, Sami Al Haj or Binyam Mohamed, and a note urging consumers to take action and visit the Reprieve site. 100 per cent of the proceeds of the sale of the bath ball, went to Reprieve.
This campaign caused a huge stir in the UK. Member of Parliament, Tobias Ellwood, criticised the campaign and called it tasteless before having a slight change of heart after speaking with Lush. (He later offered to help devise a ‘more appropriate strategy’ to raise awareness about Guantanamo Bay.)
However, as Lush Campaign Manager, Andrew Butler, puts it “By standing up for the rights of the prisoners in Guantanamo, we are standing up for the rights of everyone.”
So is there a place for politics in beauty? Should brands like Lush fight to raise awareness about an issue they strongly believe in, or should beauty brands simply stick to what they know best – making beauty products? Is it important to be reminded about serious issues that are happening in the world or does that take away from the pure escapism that is beauty?
No matter what your opinion of Lush’s campaign is, it has certainly achieved one of its aims – to get people talking