Borkowski Weekly Media Trends 26-11-21
Lush quits social media | Santa's Boyfriend | Madonna Photoshoot
Lush quits Social Media
Award for bravery this week goes to Lush, who, fuelled by the current allegations made may Facebook whistle-blower Frances Haugen, has announced that it is quitting Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and TikTok.
For anyone who has managed to completely avoid British high streets for the past 10 years, Lush is a cosmetics manufacturer that specialises in wackily-scented bath bombs and soaps. But Lush also acts as a proud activist. Its products are vegan and cruelty free, and it regularly runs campaigns dedicated to political and social causes.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, given the fact that social media now makes the world (read: business) go round, Lush’s decision to quit these social platforms is not in the interest of profit. The company’s CEO, Mark Costantine has said he is happy to take the forecast £10 million hit to profits for the sake of the move.
So why do it? Because Lush’s entire brand – both its products and its personality – revolves around care. Self-care for its customers – who rely on its products to look after themselves and their loved ones. And care for the many communities and causes they support.
Costantine said they he wouldn’t ask his customers to meet him “down a dark and dangerous alleyway”, so nor would he expect them to meet him on sites that are as dangerous and potentially harmful as Facebook or Instagram.
Will it be successful? Surely. In the relentless quest for authenticity, Lush has just shown how it’s done. It smacks of the infamous moral conundrum ‘is there ever such thing as a good deed’? By taking the financial hit, Lush has proved that it's serious about its mission to do good. Ironically, it's because of this that it will reap the rewards in future.
Norwegian Christmas Advert is Festive Magic
The first serious shot in the eternal alchemic search for the perfect Christmas advert has this year been fired by the Norwegian postal service.
The advert sees Santa employing the postal service to help him deliver presents, freeing him up to spend Christmas with the hitherto unrequited love of his life.
The principal reason the advert trended was that the object of Santa’s affection in this instance (in a nod to the 50th anniversary of homosexuality being decriminalised in Norway) was another man.
An LGBTQ+ relationship in 2021 should be uncontroversial (and presumably is in a developed country like Norway) but the depiction in the advert is perfectly balanced between unfussy support for equality and inclusivity, and – by involving Santa- presenting it in a form that would court media attention, even mild controversy, among less enlightened demographics (yes that’s us, Brits and Americans).
Beyond the viral potency of a gay Santa finding love, the story is perfectly devised for maximum emotional impact, the film is beautifully shot, and the actual promotion of the product is as elegantly infused into it as in any classic Christmas ad.
It’s topical, it’s emotional, it’s spellbindingly festive, it sells a product, its producers have played the culture wars mob like a reactionary fiddle, and all this without a single talking cartoon animal, vegetable, or mournful acoustic cover version. Bravo.
Madge’s Meme-able Madness
It's been a crazy week for Madonna! On Wednesday, the 63-year-old circulated a curated selection of scantily-clad images from her bedroom that got the internet talking. The sporadic shoot caught us by surprise (shockingly, no one asked for this). Still, the photos were quickly memeified, whilst many commented on her use of the bizarre Snapchat-like face filters that make you look like an infant.
Not shying away from the limelight, Madonna took her opportunity to criticise Instagram for censoring her "nipple photo" - an image that didn't pass Instagram's nudity policy. She even announced to her 17m followers that she's grateful to have maintained her "sanity through four decades of censorship … sexism … ageism and misogyny."
Whether she planned to make a statement about the female body and criticise a social media giant as the world watched remains unclear, but the last couple of months has left many scratching their heads. Like when Madonna made headlines following an appearance on the Jimmy Fallon Show after she jumped on his desk live on-air, pulling a sexy pose and leaving his audience cringing... mostly at Fallon.
Whatever you think, Madonna's ability to stir up drama from thin air is an art form that's perfectly suited to our social media age. Of course, she's never shied away from controversy, but Madonna is proving she still knows how to create conversation off viral moments in the twilight years of her career.