Lush and Ben & Jerry’s Didn’t Ask You to Buy Your Mom Lotion or Ice Cream for Mother’s Day

This Mother’s Day two brands gave an important shoutout to the National Bail Out Collective (NBO), who for the third year in a row held a national fundraiser to help bail out black mothers on Mother’s Day.

Ben & Jerry’s released a blog post providing statistics and context to the issue at hand, while Lush took to their large social media following on Instagram and Twitter to share a simple bold statement: “Bail out black mamas this Mother’s Day.”

According to research cited in the Ben & Jerry’s blog post, there are 2.3 million mothers incarcerated today, and 1 in 9 black children have a parent in jail versus 1 in 57 white children.

This staggering statistic was enough for two brands, who could have easily centered Mother’s Day on their products, to focus their marketing messaging on something more important.

Image used in Ben & Jerry’s blog post.

Lush makes skin and beauty products, and Ben & Jerry’s makes ice cream for crying out loud. These are two brands for whom mothers are their ideal customer. But rather than, say Lush blasting out, “Buy your mom these relaxing bath bombs,” both brands exercised brand activism instead.

To be fair, Lush and Ben & Jerry’s regularly exercise other forms of social responsibility regularly. Ben & Jerry’s is known for taking regular political stances on issues, as seen in their Democracy is in Your Hands campaign, for example. Meanwhile Lush has taken a stand against single use plastic, which is reflected in the packaging for many of their products.

But it’s this kind of marketing that demonstrates a new era of brand messaging sparked by millennials and Gen Z, who are one of the most socially conscious generations ever. The social media posts by Lush and the blog by Ben & Jerry’s aren’t demanding anything in return, and while responses to controversial issues will always be mixed, many consumers appreciate this kind of messaging.

By the way, the result of this fundraiser was incredible. The NBO bailed out over 100 mothers in their largest Mother’s Day bailout efforts to date. The marketing efforts by Ben & Jerry’s and Lush should not overshadow the work done by this organization, but hopefully these posts resulted in donations from consumers who would’ve otherwise been unaware of it.

Why these marketing campaigns work in a nutshell:

  • They lead to somewhere that isn’t product-related. Both brands include a link to the nonprofit’s site they can donate to directly, making the posts themselves as actionable as possible without focusing on their own product.
  • These efforts remind me of the Don’t by This Jacket campaign from Patagonia in that they deflect from the brand’s products, albeit not in the overt way that the Patagonia campaign did. The year they ran this campaign, revenue grew over 30%. By not mentioning product at all, Lush and Ben & Jerry’s might be indirectly attracting sales because of this shift in focus.