"I'm most definitely a woman and I enjoy it" -Marilyn Monroe
Because makeup makes me broke and I babble on.
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Saturday, 20 April 2013

Urban Decay using Marijuana References in Ad Campaign- Shame on you, Urban Decay!


Hi there!

Today I received in my inbox an email regarding today's date being used as a pro-marijuana reference by Urban Decay's promotion team.  As a mother, health professional, and someone who does not promote illegal drug use, I find this ad offensive and inappropriate.  I sent Urban Decay an email and if you feel this way as well, please speak up.  I do not feel that a major cosmetics company should use drugs as a platform for advertising and will no longer purchase from Urban Decay- which is a terrible choice for me as I do enjoy their products.


I'm embarrassed and offended.  Urban Decay's promotion team truly made a mistake with this campaign and I hope this doesn't happen again.  If this is condoned, it's a sad reflection on our society that implies that drugs are acceptable, branded as chic, and used in a joking manner to sell cosmetics.  I don't agree that this is appropriate to use a toxic, unhealthy substance to promote anything, much less makeup.  It's also unfortunate that there wasn't any type of apology or warning and this email could be viewed by anyone, a genuine problem as many customers could be children.  This was a very poor decision on the part of UD's marketing and from today onward, they've lost a loyal customer.


Here is the email I sent:


To Whom It May Concern,

I am grossly offended by today's advertisements and the email I received regarding 4/20 and hints at marijuana use.  I'm aware of the date and it's popularity in this vein of reference, but as I don't associate with drug users, I wouldn't necessarily expect it's promotion by a major cosmetics brand.  How can Urban Decay condone promoting drug use in their marketing?  I am ashamed of your promotion team and executives that approved this material as appropriate for your consumers. 

As a nursing professional in the healthcare industry, I am appalled that Urban Decay would promote a toxic substance (illegal in most states) as part of your marketing campaign.  References like "roach" and "baked" and "take a double hit" are deeply offensive to your customers such as myself who don't approve of drugs or drug-related vernacular.  As I have personally seen the negative effects of marijuana use in the community, I cannot understand how Urban Decay could find this appropriate in any manner.  As many of your consumers may not even be of legal age, this is a blatant disregard of children and young teens who are lured into the brand because of it's chic appeal.  There wasn't even a warning of references to drug use or an apology to consumers for drug references.  Do you assume your customers are pro-marijuana by default?  Is this what Urban Decay is promoting for it's consumer base- illegal drug use?  Can your marketing team truly be at peace with promoting drug use to minors?  How this was agreed upon by Urban Decay's marketing team comprised of grown adults is impossible to understand. 

I am a loyal customer, a makeup professional by hobby and trade and as I am completing my upper level degree in clinical practice and nursing, I am shocked at the lack of professionalism and blatant disregard for Urban Decay's customers that this ad portrays.  I would never advocate drug use to a patient, much less in a world-wide promotion that could be viewed by anyone, adult or not.  

I hope this ad is retracted and apology issued and Urban Decay cleans up their act.  Until then, you won't get another cent from me.

Sincerely,
Tianne (I used my full name)

Here is the ad I am referencing:

The subject of the email was:  "It's 4/20.  Light It Up!"  Screencap of my inbox below:



Here are screencaps of the ad in my inbox:



Urban Decay is no longer a brand I support due to the offensive material in this ad campaign.

Sincerely,
T

Photobucket

15 comments :

Haley Pullin said...

I'm not really sure why you're so offended by the brand's email. If you've been a fan of their cosmetics, then you already know all of their product names have references to drugs. Therefore, it really shouldn't be a shock that they would use this day as a platform to promote their products. I think people are so afraid of marijuana because it's illegal but think about how much more damage alcohol and cigarettes cause ;)

Jenna H. said...

Good for you speaking out for what you stand for! This is totally inappropriate and something that UD will hopefully not do again! You rock girl! Love your blog!
Follow me back? chiccupcake1.blogspot.com
-Jen <3

Glam Shack said...

Urban Decay makes some really amazing cosmetics. That’s why I'm in shock that they would feel the need to stoop so low to sell their products. I don't find this ad funny or amusing, rather I find it offensive. I was really looking forward to purchasing the smoked palette, but if this is what smoked means to them then they can keep it.

Baroque In Babylon said...

@Haley, believe me I am not familiar with drug use or common names and this was a shock. The names can be used either way- such as 'baked'. I thought that was the type of product, not a drug reference. For items like 'smoked'- I assume it meant smokey eye. As for 'roach' and 'junkie' I thought roach was a reference to the bug and junkie was like a makeup junkie. Call me naive, but I didn't realize it was about drugs. I am proud of the fact I wasn't aware of that and teach my children to be drug free. In my work and education I learn what drugs do to cells, the brain, and the body and even prescribed medications can be a problem, much less illegal products. If they promoted alcohol or nicotine, I would feel the same. Marijuana is unhealthy, hands down whether it's legal or not. It's not so much the drug mentioned per se- It's more the tone. The selling point being that drugs are cool or positive is what I take offense to. It's deplorable and I stand by my position 100%. I can find equally quality items elsewhere and it's classless on Urban Decay's part to market their items this way. There are better methods and messages to promote.

TikiBwana said...

Urban Decay has, for years, used names that symbolize "urban decay"-- things that conjure up images of decay, drugs, pollution... that they would do a tongue-in-cheek tie-in to 4/20 shouldn't come as a surprise... it's not as though they are advocating drug usage. Midnight Cowboy (referring to the movie of the same name), Asphyxia, Speed, Narcotic, Smog, Mildew.. their names have always been edgy. I'm in my 50s and I've never taken from the names that they were advocating anything in particular....

Fleurs-de-Lisa said...

I agree with the first commenter ans well as the one directly above that UD has been using drug-related words for years. That never put me off enough to boycott them, but they are getting a bit ridiculous about using these words in public campaigns/ads.

Actually, the word "loaded" is in that ad, too, and could be taken as an alcohol-related word, i.e., "Let's go to Duke's bar and get loaded."

I am anti-alcohol abuse/addiction/alcolholism because I still carry wounds from living in a dysfunctional alcoholic family. I also worked for a bout 1 year in a drug and alcohol counseling center. The pain caused by alcoholism is truly tragic. Alcohol is nothing but a legalized drug. Writing this gives me pause to perhaps reconsider my position on buying UD products (not that I buy many of them anyway). I think they have become somewhat irresponsible with their line.

Vulcan_Butterfly said...

Well, they DO have various products that are named after reefer-related things (Kush, Roach, Chronic, Junkie, Stash, Baked, etc.). Also, many of their other names for eyeshadows and liners are drug or alcohol related as well so it is kind of no surprise to me that they advertised in this manner. I suppose one could be offended by the naming of some of their product that are sexually suggestive as well.....

Anonymous said...

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Sarah said...

Please keep in mind that Urban Decay is an international brand, and as such, this email campaign would target countries and areas where marijuana is legal or decriminalized, as well as those places where it is still considered illegal.

You said in the letter: "I have personally seen the negative effects of marijuana use in the community" The name of the company is 'Urban Decay'. It's like you're affirming the company's choice of name. And, as others said, they've been using the same product names for years... so I don't think one letter is going to change the branding strategy.

4/20 is just a fun celebration for people to relive their days as a pot smoking youth. Just like May the 4th is a fun celebration for people to relive their days as a sci-fi nerd. Too much negativity here, I'm gonna go roll a big fat one and chill!

Baroque In Babylon said...

The company name can be taken many ways, but I find it to be more tongue in cheek than truly advocating social breakdown...and I am aware that UD is international and that various cultures will interpret this differently. However, I'm American, I received the email, and where I live, marijuana is illegal and it was in poor taste. I don't expect one letter to change anything, but I've never been one to go with the flow when it comes to something I feel strongly about. I find it so very interesting that one can have an opinion on something as obvious as 'drugs are bad' and suddenly despite evidence to the carcinogenic effect of pot, there is backlash for being against it. Keep in mind the 'chill' you get from your 'big fat one' is cell hypoxia and injury which leads to disease and cancer and cell breakdown. I guess if that's your thing, but it's not mine and I have zero issues with stating it. I also think there's a big difference between celebrating sci-fi and marijuana. Last I checked, Battlestar and Geekdom don't cause cancer and lung disease.

Anonymous said...

I am against drugs as much as you are but, you can't jump to conclusions on what the names of their eyeshadow a, bronzers, palettes, ect. Actually mean. Last time I checked, the terms, "baked" and "blunt" have several different meanings. So technically you're jumping to conclusions. You can dislike a company all you want, but your reason is kind of dumb to be honest.

Baroque In Babylon said...

@Anon on 7-2-2013, the color/item names were listed in reference to marijuana via the email...so I doubt it was happenstance, but instead a play on words using drug references. It's not so much a jump but a progression. I'm not anti-UD per se, just the tone didn't sit well with me so I'm not a big fan anymore. C'est la vie.

Anonymous said...

I have and always will love Urban Decay. There is a lot of dark humor used for their ads. I live a straight edge life style. For those of you who don't know what that is, it means a drug free life. I am in no way offended by this. The target market is girls of the alternative scene. Only they will understand this humor. It is awesome make up and I will continue to buy them. I may be against drugs but I am in no way against art and freedom of speech.

Baroque In Babylon said...

Thank you for a thoughtful and well put comment. I feel much the same. My only complaint was that they should have been more aware and prefaced it at least. I do love Urban Decay and I've continued to buy their products as I don't see a reason to indefinitely hinge on a soapbox. BUT I still think it could have been handled better.