Image source: @hello.lipslut
We are 100% behind any brand that wants to make the world better through the power of lipstick, and that’s exactly what the great people behind Lipslut set out to do. Founded by three Californian students after the 2016 US election, the brand’s purpose is to protest Trump and support women, with the tagline:
"50 percent towards charity, 100 percent against tyranny and, of course, 100 percent cruelty free."
Lipslut promises to donate 50% of the profits from sales of their ethically produced lipstick to one of nine woman’s organisations – including Planned Parenthood and the National Organization for Women – to be voted on by customers at checkout.
Even the colour was chosen democratically: founder Katie Sones polled her social media followers for their favourite lipstick colours and, from the results, chose the perfect matte pink shade to suit all skin colours.
Image source: @lexiejbyrd
In August, the brand went a step further and raised more than $40,000 for the victims of the violence in Charlottesville, and to support the Black Lives Matter movement, offering 100% of any earnings from customers who chose to donate to Charlottesville victims over the whole month.
The “F*ck Trump” campaign reflects a recent convergence of fashion, beauty and politics, and comes after Lush unveiled their Trump-inspired hair mask (“Yuge”) at their summit in February, and Ogilvy’s use of the #AlternativeFacts hashtag in an advertisement for Dove.
Outside of the beauty market, a Brooklyn-based bakery, Butter & Scotch has updated their menu to feature instructions on how to call Congress, and offers free coffee shots to any customer who does so, as well as donating some of their profits to social causes in America. Along similar lines, the Standard High Line Hotel in New York has installed a phone booth in its lobby, providing politically minded guests with a free-to-use line to the US Capitol Switchboard. The great thing about these initiatives, including Lipslut’s, “F*ck Trump” campaign is that they empower the consumer to make changes in the world- giving them the choice of who to help, and educating them on how to do so.
Image source: @misschatz
Brands that align themselves with a cause risk alienating consumers, but it may be the way to connect to Millennials and Generation Z, both of whom expect brands to use their visibility and spend powers to tackle social issues (78% of young consumers, according to a recent survey).
Aligning your brand with a cause can boost engagement and awareness, but it’s a fine line to walk: backlash marketing must be sincere to avoid being accused of tokenism for profit (you only need to Google Pepsi to see how well that goes down among cynical consumers). Brands like Lipslut have a kind of double validity in this field – not only are the products catering to a demographic that feels threatened by the current political climate, their gains from the campaign are not obvious. In the case of their Charlottesville donations, the brand chose to lose profits to donate to a cause they believe in, making “F*ck Trump” more than just a clever advertisement.
There are rumours of a lip gloss coming next, and we can’t wait.