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Lush moves away from big tech and advocates for ‘digital divestment’

Sophie Smith
14 March 2023

As part of its "big tech rebellion", Lush has announced its plans to cut its advertising spend with big tech firms, according to Campaign US.

The news was presented by Lush at Texas festival SXSW, which ran from 10-13 March 2023. The brand's strategy was announced by Lush's Chief Digital Officer Jack Constantine at the event and will see the retailer slash the “millions” it spends on Google ads, cut platform investment by a third, while redirecting customers onto its app and into stores.

The announcement comes as Lush backs its decision to move away from tech giants, such as Meta and TikTok. The brand's social media accounts on Instagram, Facebook, TikTok and Snapchat have been deactivated since November 2021, as part of its policy to address the negative effects of social media.

In a report, which was also presented at SXSW, Lush surveyed over 12,000 consumers across the UK, US and Japan to understand their digital wants, needs and desires, and their views on the future of digital engagement and social media.

The study found that more consumers are spending less time on social media. This comes as 57% of consumers feel like big brands and corporations dominate technology and online culture, whist 55% want 'big tech' to have less control online.

Despite this, the report emphasised that digital platforms still offer numerous benefits for consumers, including "connecting with others and finding like-minded individuals". In addition, 57% of people agreed that tech boosts their productivity, with 39% saying social media helps them to express their identity.

Annabelle Baker, Global Brand Director at Lush, said: “We wanted to do a report to show the optimism around social. There’s been so much scepticism around our Anti-Social policy, we wanted to show that there’s a different future, beyond the one we see now, where people can engage within safe environments online. We need to be able to move the narrative from what we can’t do to what we can.”

Alongside the report, Lush has created a set of six principles for digital spaces, platforms and engagement to enable a "techno-optimist future to flourish", called The SOCIAL Framework.

  • Sustainability and the impact on the environment.
  • Open-source and how competition needs to be replaced by cooperation.
  • Community-controlled and decentralised data ownership.
  • Iterative and agility in an ever-evolving landscape.
  • Accessible and inclusive.
  • Life-affirming.

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