Why Did Urban Outfitters Think ‘Suicidal Shampoo’ Was A Good Idea?

Urban Outfitters was forced to pull an offensive product from its shelves after social media users slammed the company for making light of a sensitive topic.

Urban Outfitters caught some serious heat for their “shampoo for suicidal hair” and as a result have taken the product off the shelves.

The shampoo’s name and slogan take a very insensitive approach to suicide, treating it as some kind of joke.

The product is called “Peachy head” which is supposed to be a pun related to Beachy Head, a known suicide spot in the United Kingdom.

“I never knew my once beautiful hair would actually commit suicide by tossing itself off dramatic white cliffs to the rocks below,” reads the product's description, which refers to the white cliffs at Beachy Head, according to Mashable.

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To top it all off, emblazoned in black lettering on the front of the bright orange shampoo bottle are the words: “peach shampoo for suicidal hair.”

Social media users didn’t hesitate to call the popular retail company out on their irresponsible marketing ploy.

One very profound detail pointed out by critics of the shampoo is the fact that the product is marketed to teenage girls, who are a vulnerable group as it is.

Upon receiving the negative backlash, Urban Outfitters has rightfully done away with the shampoo manufactured by the UK brand Anatomicals.

“Although the product’s name is a humorous attempt to market a shampoo for hard-to-manage hair, we reevaluated and felt it was not appropriate and it was pulled from the Urban Outfitters website," a spokesperson for Urban Outfitters reportedly said in a statement emailed to Mashable.

"We have instructed all of our UK stores to remove the product immediately,” the spokesperson added.

That statement even feels quite out of touch as it claims the product’s name is “humorous.” It’s evident that they attempted to be funny, but they definitely missed the mark.

An Anatomicals spokesperson reportedly offered a statement to The Huffington Post mostly defending the crass puns.

“‘Peachy Head’ has been on sale for a number of years now and continues to be loved by many customers," the spokesperson said. “That’s not to say we fail to recognize that suicide, and particularly teenage suicide, is a growing problem and we would never wish to be seen as making light of it.”

The spokesperson should have stopped there, but instead they added unnecessary anecdotes that, again, fail to really acknowledge the seriousness of this issue.

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“Every day of every year, millions of people have a ‘bad hair’ day. They may feel like putting on a hat or even in extreme cases, chopping it off and going for a sleek bob. Never do they feel like killing themselves, although they may feel like killing their hairdresser."

Those remarks are problematic because it isn’t accurate to say that someone “never” feels like killing themselves on a bad hair day. Someone who is bullied relentlessly about their hair or physical appearance in general may not be able to withstand one more single day of ridicule and therefore cannot afford to have a "bad hair day" that makes them susceptible to harassment. 

Suicide is just not a joke no matter how you try to spin it. Urban Outfitters and Anatomicals should be much more cognizant of the messages they’re sending to the teens and young adults that they cater to.

Banner/Thumbnail Credit: Flickr/Will

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