Lush is launching a large transgender rights campaign today, giving other companies that have dabbled in the cause a run for their money.
Dubbed #TransRightsAreHumanRights, the two-week campaign will see a total transformation of its North American stores and website. It will also include a permanent digital hub, where allies and the trans/questioning community can access helpful resources.
“The call for this campaign really came from our staff. So many of them, or their coworkers or friends, are trans or non-binary, so we want to support them, but also teach cisgender people how they can be good allies to this group,” said Carleen Pickard, Lush’s ethical campaign specialist.
The goal of Lush’s campaign is to go beyond the surface level use of trans models, and make a more lasting impact. While other beauty brands like Make Up For Ever and Wet N’ Wild have dipped their toes in the transgender-support pool by featuring transgender models in their advertisements and digital campaigns. So far, though, their support has been relegated to those one-off moments, rather than anything that might last long-term.
MAC, on the other hand, is one of the only identifiable brands that has celebrated the trans community in ways that extend beyond the superficial. On top of featuring trans celebrities like Caitlyn Jenner and the drag queen Ru Paul in its campaigns, the brand has also rolled out educational films meant to bring the trans perspective to light.
Lush itself has long been known for its activist positioning; it’s been a foundation of the brand since it launched in Britain in 2005. Alongside regularly donating money to various charities via sales of its Charity Pot, the brand holds two to four special campaigns a year, which have focused on everything from environmental conservation to animal protection.
“We’ve worked with brands before, but this is the most comprehensive program we’ve ever seen,” said Mara Keisling, the founding executive director for the National Center for Transgender Rights. “Using trans models is amazing, but this just offers so much more.”
All 250 of its shop windows in the region will be stripped of the colorful displays Lush is known for, in favor of stark quotes about transgender identity, straight from members of the company’s staff. Similar signs will also be spread out amongst the products in store. The goal is to provide a real picture of what it means to be transgender in 2018, said Pickard, highlighting the trans community’s disproportionate vulnerability to issues like homelessness and abuse.
A close-up of the in-store signage, featuring quotes from trans/non-binary Lush staff members
A minute-long launch video, hosted on the brand’s website, as well as its Facebook and Instagram accounts, will also feature Lush employees sharing their personal experiences. Snapchat will be used exclusively to provide tips and resources for transgender/questioning youth. Throughout the week, six more short films will roll out, spotlighting the work of various trans allies.
To promote that kind of allyship, the brand will also distribute 75,000 “How To Be An Ally” pocket manuals in its stores that unpack different trans issues and provide important definitions. Lush’s nearly 5,000 store associates in the region have received hours of training on the issue, and have been encouraged to share their personal stories where applicable.
“They have to be able to fully understand the issue and answer all sorts of questions for people while the campaign is live,” explained Pickard.
To further ensure the campaign is up to par for the trans community at-large, Lush has partnered with the National Center for Transgender Equality and the Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity. Together, they aim to raise at least $450,000 through sales of a limited-edition bath ball, the Inner Truth Bath Melt, which retails for $5.95, and its famous Charity Pot body lotion. 100 percent of the sales for each product will go to the aforementioned organizations and four others that are fighting to advance trans rights.
The limited-edition Inner Truth Bath Melt
“When we do campaigns like this, we ask our partners: How can we be sure that when we finish the campaign, we’ve left the movement stronger than it was before?’ said Prickard, who noted that the partnering organizations review every asset of the campaign. “We recognize that they’re the people doing the work in the long run.“
Specially themed Charity Pots, the proceeds of which go to trans-supporting charities
As for the campaign’s strictly North American focus, Lush would only say that it may be implemented globally in the future.
Pickard and her team hope that, despite the campaign running for only two weeks, the digital hub and pocket manual will continue to be a resource for people. And, although the limited-edition Inner Truth Bath Melt is also only on sale for two weeks, sales of the Charity Pot will continue to go to trans organizations for the remainder of the year.
“One of the main things these organizations need is money to stay afloat,” she said.
Keisling, for her part, is most excited about the impact the campaign’s creative will have on the transgender community.
“I’m looking forward to seeing them in the stores as they look at this campaign,” she said. “They’re just going to be blown away by the feeling of support.”