How cosmetics brand Lush does corporate activism

In the latest episode of Ad Age’s Marketer’s Brief podcast, Lush Chief Ethics Officer Brandi Halls discusses the challenges of corporate activism and how Lush has navigated marketing without social media.

“Not everyone’s going to agree with the campaigns or the issues that we may take on,” said Halls, who has been with Lush for nearly two decades. This includes its own employees—including store operators—who can choose if they participate in campaigns and to what degree, she said.

“We’ve had shops that have decided to not take on an issue” because staffers weren’t behind it or because “it’s potentially dangerous to take on in their market,” she said. “We really empower our shop managers to run their shops as if they were their own little business.”

The company relies partly on its employees to generate ideas for its campaigns, such as a trans rights campaign in 2018. “We were featuring [staff] quotes in our shop windows, they were helping write and create our trans guides to being an ally,” said Halls.

Lush’s recently launched campaign about indigenous and environmental activism sprung from years-long relationships with indigenous activists, said Halls. It involves selling a limited-edition bath bomb called Guardian of the Forest with plans to donate all purchase revenue to indigenous and environmental organizations.