Urban Outfitters has come under fire for selling a widely offensive product aimed at ‘suicidal hair’.
Made by British beauty brand Anatomicals, the shampoo was on sale in UK stores but has since been branded ‘disgusting’ and ‘irresponsible’ by shoppers, who were shocked by the playful reference to such a serious subject.
To make matters worse, the shampoo is called Peachy Head – and people think it might be referencing notorious Sussex suicide spot, Beachy Head.
It gets worse. The packaging of the product also used an image of hair throwing itself off a cliff, with the words: “I never knew my once beautiful hair would actually commit suicide by tossing itself off dramatic white cliffs to the rocks below,” according to Business Insider.
Customer Sam Missingham took a picture of the bottle and shared it on her Twitter account, asking Urban Outfitters directly whether they thought it was a good idea to be selling a product with such irresponsible packaging.
— Sam Missingham (@samatlounge) April 28, 2016
If you’re wondering what the photo on the back of the bottle is, it’s an image of hair throwing itself of a cliff – a cliff that looks a whole lot like Beachy Head in Sussex.
The full description reads:
Well, I knew it was feeling a little off colour, but I just put that down to the bad dye job. I never knew my once beautiful hair would actually commit suicide by tossing itself off dramatic white cliffs to the rocks below. Now look at me, completely bald.
Before it’s too late, bring your locks back from a state of complete depression with this conditioning peach shampoo. It’s hair heaven here on earth.
Unsurprisingly, people have reacted badly to the insensitive analogy, calling out Urban Outfitters for stocking the product:
Seriously, @UrbanOutfitters? What makes you think puns about suicide are okay? Especially among teenagers. Absolutely shameful.
— Megan Littler (@meganlittler19) April 28, 2016
— Matt Haig (@matthaig1) April 28, 2016
— Tiffany Louise Clark (@tifflouclark) April 28, 2016
— seriously hilary (@seriouslyhilary) April 29, 2016
Urban Outfitters has since responded to the backlash and vowed to immediately remove the shampoo:
@samatlounge We appreciate your concern and are pulling this product from all retail stores immediately.
— Urban Outfitters (@UrbanOutfitters) April 28, 2016
But Anatomicals co-founder Paul Marshall doesn’t seem as remorseful.
He told Buzzfeed News:
We’re probably not going to continue selling the product. That’s not to say that we’ve [bowed] down to a couple of people who have made comments that we don’t agree with. So we’re not bowing down to a nanny state, that’s for sure.
No one is going to produce a product that is set out to cause offence, and we don’t set out to cause offence.
We are a cool, young, fun, irreverent brand – look at all our other products, they all have cute, funny titles.
Yeah, you might need to try that one again, Paul. Suicide has never been and will never be ‘cute’ or ‘funny’.
Hopefully companies will think more about their choice of language and marketing style in the future.