Lush’s Lavender Hill Mob – Where any publicity isn’t good publicity

Lush Lavender Hill Mob

I recently reported on how Instagram banning the hashtag #curvy had drawn more attention to the social media platform. However, Lush has today provided a great example that all publicity isn’t necessarily good publicity.

So Lush has released a perfume called Lavender Hill Mob, inspired by the riots of 2011.  The fragrance has garnered its fair share of criticism as it has flames emblazoned on its packaging and imaging of riotous mobs.

Behind this is a more appealing backstory, where Lush claims that the fragrance is inspired by the residents of Lavender Hill in Clapham, who put their hands together as a show of solidarity as they were approached by threats of violence.

However this is all lost in the noise.  The point is, if you have glaring imagery depicting violence and harking back to the destructive day in 2011, any positive messaging will be overlooked, which is exactly what has happened with Lavender Hill Mob.  The fragrance seems to glorify the violence of the rioters.

While the base note may be lavender, known for its calming and soothing properties, the imagery is far from comforting.  In fact, Lavender Hill Mob provides the antithesis of many of Lush’s products, which are about pampering.  Stirring up memories of the riots through fragrance hardly evokes R&R.

PR cynics (like me) will say that Lush’s bold move is a stunt to garner publicity and stand out from the crowd. However for a brand that is so often on point, this misses the mark.  Cast your minds back to 2012, when Lush performed animal testing on a human in a bid to highlight the base cruelty of the practice (I wrote about this on my blog, which you can view here).  The stunt divided opinion, however, nobody could argue that the display wasn’t compelling, and it certainly stopped shoppers in their tracks, and garnered column inches.

Lush's aminal testing on a human

Now while Lush may not have been planning to recreate the same buzz with its Lavender Hill Mob fragrance, the new addition hasn’t gone unnoticed, but for all the wrong reasons. Lush is being widely criticised for the product, and this goes to show that any publicity isn’t good publicity.

Halima Khatun

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