Lush stores take down posters following backlash to controversial SpyCops campaign

Josh Mines
Lush stores have been forced to remove posters for their SpyCops campaign after a public backlash (Source: Lush)

Staff working in Lush stores across the UK have been forced to take down posters for its controversial SpyCops campaign after a public backlash.

The campaign, which was launched on Friday, said undercover police officers, some of whom had relationships with activists, had been "paid to lie."

Angry shoppers took to social media to voice their disgust with the cosmetic company's campaign, with many using the #FlushLush hashtag on Twitter.

Read more: How Lush got it so wrong

A statement from the Police Federation called the campaign "damaging and distasteful."

The organisation's chair Calum Macleod said: "The Lush advertising campaign is offensive, disgusting and an insult to the hard work, professionalism and dedication of police officers throughout the UK.

"I cannot believe that someone, somewhere, actually thought this campaign was a good idea."

A video posted to Twitter showed staff at Lush's Peterborough branch taking the poster down after an off-duty police officer voiced his concerns about the campaign.

Chair of the Cambridgeshire Police Federation Liz Groom confirmed on social media: "One of our officers went and had a polite and constructive discussion with the manager of Lush Peterborough who then removed the display."

A similar incident occurred at a branch in Dudley, as the Merry Hill shopping centre, where the branch is housed, explained: "We are aware of the campaign that Lush is currently running and have spoken to the store about this. They have removed the display. We believe shopping centres should be non-confrontational and politically neutral spaces."

A report in the Sunday Times said that posters at the chain's Watford store had been removed from the windows after staff were subject to verbal abuse.

One member of the management team told the paper: "We have had people come in and shout at our staff today. It was intimidating for them. They are young, 16, 17 and 18. We took it down within the first two hours."

Marketing regulator the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) confirmed it had received around 30 complaints about the ad, but would not be taking further action as the issue is outside of its remit.

In a statement, Lush defended its campaign, saying it was not an "anti-police campaign", and that the company was "aware that the police forces of the UK are doing an increasingly difficult and dangerous job."

"This campaign is not about the real police work done by those front line officers who support the public every day - it is about a controversial branch of political undercover policing that ran for many years before being exposed," the company wrote.

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