This shampoo at Urban Outfitters just got pulled from shelves for a good reason
The latest controversy out of the Urban Outfitters camp involves a bottle of shampoo. Made by British company Anatomicals, the front of the orange bottle says “peach shampoo for suicidal hair” and it’s meant to “bring your locks back from a state of complete depression.” A woman living in the U.K. by the name of Sam Missingham found the bottle when her teenager’s friend brought it to her at an Urban Outfitters store. She was shocked and upset, having battled depression recently herself. She tweeted an image of the shampoo to Urban Outfitters on April 28th, and it’s gained a considerable amount of attention since.
This shampoo is called Peachy Head, which is a reference to Beachy Head, a place in East Sussex that is widely — and tragically — known as a spot in Britain where people commit suicide. On the back of the bottle you can see a mane of hair throwing itself off a cliff. “I never knew my once beautiful hair would actually commit suicide by tossing itself off dramatic white cliffs to the rocks below,” it says below.
“To use suicide as a marketing hook shows a phenomenal level of idiocy,” Missingham told BuzzFeed News, “And as for the play on Peachy Head/Beachy Head, to visually represent a place where many people have taken their lives is beyond insensitive to them, their families, and friends.”
Urban Outfitters has since responded to Missingham, apologized, and removed the product from shelves.
A spokesperson from Urban Outfitters told BuzzFeed News that this shampoo had been taken down from the website earlier this year, but “some of the product was not pulled from our retail stores. We have instructed all of our UK stores to remove the product immediately.”
Missingham is certainly not the only person to find this marketing ploy incredibly offensive and harmful to people everywhere who suffer from mental illness.
We can’t help but be reminded of previous Urban Outfitters oversights and controversies — and there are quite a few. They once had T-shirts on the shelves that had “Eat Less” written on the front. In 2014, they were forced by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) to remove an ad for underwear that promoted “unhealthily thin” thigh gap.
Some of their merchandise has called for a second look as well, like flasks that say “Fuck my liver,” and “Drink like the rebel that you are.” The ASA ruled that this too was an irresponsible advertisement that promoted unhealthy binge drinking.
Regardless of Urban Outfitter’s past, Missingham is pleased that her efforts have taken these shampoo bottles off the Urban Outfitters shelves.
Perhaps the most disturbing part of this whole kerfuffle, though, is the response from the company that makes Peachy Head, Anatomicals. Co-founder Paul Marshall told BuzzFeed News that, although they have discontinued selling this product to stores like Urban Outfitters, “the product has been on sale for a number of years without any complaints.”
“We’re probably not going to continue selling the product,” Marshall said. “That’s not to say that we’ve [bowed] down to a couple of people who have made comments that we don’t agree with. So we’re not bowing down to a nanny state, that’s for sure.”
“We are a cool, young, fun, irreverent brand – look at all our other products, they all have cute, funny titles. We want to bring smiles to people’s bathrooms, we never set out to offend,” he continues.
Here are the names of some other Anatomicals products: “Smoother butts love coconuts, coconut and mango body lotion,” “be good with your hands in bed, night time hand cream.”
Marshall is right. These are “cute, funny” names for beauty products. Joking about suicide, though, is neither cute nor funny, no matter what.