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ChangingMinds Blog! > Blog Archive > 23-Oct-09


Friday 23-October-09

Engaging with The Body Shop

The Body Shop are a UK-based sustainable cosmetics company that is a perennial High Street favourite with the ethically minded. Founded when the green movement was seen as a bunch of cranks, it got popular with its 'good' philosophy, no-nonsense products, simple packaging and reasonable pricing. Since the death of its founder, Anita Roddick, I've not seen too much of them and, a statistic of one, my wife no longer shops there. But they're still battling on. 

A powerful advert from them that I saw today showed six bottles of assorted lotions, each with a different smell and base, and asked readers to choose which one to 'save'. And you can indeed vote here if you're interested. The idea is that the variants that are voted for most will be kept on the shelves whilst the others are retired.

So what's going on? The Body Shop could easily find out which are the most popular products by looking at their sales figures. What they are doing is borrowing from a principle that has been used a lot on TV recently, from reality shows to talent contests. By involving readers in the keep-or-retire decision,. the company starts to bond the customers, increasing loyalty and the likelihood of re-purchase, especially the voted-for product. When we vote, we feel we must be consistent also with our actions, so we buy the product to show ourselves that we really do care. They are also using the scarcity principle in reminding us that if we do not vote then we will lose the opportunity to buy something we like. The banner shouts 'They're back, at adorable prices', and the 3.99 price is proudly displayed in red heart, glorifying rather than hiding the price and implying (with subtle brand leverage) that it is all good (I have no idea if this is a good deal, but it looks like it). 'Vote to keep your favourite' it then says, with a neat assumption that you indeed have a favourite. 'I (heart) the Body Shop' it concludes, bonding you tighter again.

With such a battery of persuasive methods, one might wonder at the how ethical the advert is.

Interestingly, to vote properly, you would have to buy all six bottles and try them out, which could easily take longer than the campaign is running. Actually it does not matter and many people will just be drawn to the shops by curiosity. I might even pop in myself.


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