Yikes: The body-positive ad campaign people reported as porn

Plenty of women love Lush Cosmetics for their soaps, lotions, and more. But another reason to love Lush is their awesome campaigning and support of important issues. Take their “Gay Is OK” soap that they released in partnership with global LBGTQ rights advocacy group All Out back in June, for example.

Lush’s latest ad campaign also had an ultra-positive meaning behind it: body acceptance. The unretouched, Photoshop-free ad features a group of women of all different sizes baring their backsides and challenging narrow standards beauty ads are known for.

Unfortunately, though, this campaign is not so universally accepted. In fact, it’s being reported as pornography in Queensland, where the campaign was featured.

The ad received four complaints to the Advertising Standards Board in Australia. A sample complaint of the advertising said:

The Go Naked campaign, which was launched in August, was an attempt to show photographs of untouched, un-Photoshopped bodies, paired with a highlighting of unnecessary packaging used for products in the beauty world.

“The image in the window is a body positive reference to this fact, and is not in any way intended to cause any offense or upset,” Lush reps told BuzzFeed in a statement. “The women in the images are members of the LUSH team, who felt strongly about this issue and volunteered to be part of our campaign to highlight this important issue.”

They continued:

According to one of the campaign’s models and Lush employee Courtney Fry, most of the response has been “overwhelmingly positive.” “The absolute best reaction was an older woman who was giggling with her friend at the window display, and then smacked me on the bum and told me I was doing a ‘bloody good job, love’,” she told BuzzFeed.

The campaign has helped her to become even more self-accepting of her own body, she explained. “I’ve had issues with my body for the majority of my life and having the confidence to do something this far out of my comfort zone was a huge step for me,” Courtney told BuzzFeed. “I’ve become much more accepting of my figure for all its fantastic features and flaws, and I think that’s a truly liberating thing.”

That’s what thousands of people thought about the campaign, Lush reps told SmartCompany. “We received a handful of complaints internally, which is pretty tiny compared to the thousands of message of support, praise and ‘likes’ from parents, teachers and retailers – let alone the hundreds of thousands of people who walked past our 39 windows over the three-week campaign,” they explained.

That said, ultimately, Lush decided to remove the ad five days early, but they immediately received complaints about that, as well — because so many people loved it. “We have also had requests from customers wanting to continue the campaign in store and pose for the photo themselves as they felt it helped their children grow up feeling that their bodies are natural and normal, not something to be ashamed of and have our insecurities exploited for the sale of cosmetics,” Lush told BuzzFeed.

But don’t worry — this whole situation won’t affect how Lush advertises from now on, they said. And good thing, too, because in a world jam-packed with unrealistic beauty expectations, it seems as though women’s bodies are only shamed for being “pornographic” if they don’t meet said expectations. We love this refreshing, amazing campaign, and we can only hope that the public opens their eyes to the importance of body-positive advertising.

(Image via Lush)

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