New Study Shows Consumers Are Uneasy About Health & Beauty Brands Supporting Woke Causes

According to new research, two-thirds (68%) of consumers are uneasy or unsure about health and beauty brands teaching and promoting ‘woke’ causes. The survey also found that when it comes to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), what most people (58%) want is for health & beauty brands to ‘pay their taxes, treat people fairly, respect the environment and not use it as a PR opportunity’.

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– One in four consumers think ‘woke-washing’ brands are inauthentic
– 58% of people want health & beauty brands to be a good, ethical corporate citizen first
– Groups that people feel are most under-represented in advertising are disabled, older and larger-sized people.

Nearly half of UK consumers (41%) agree that the amount of ‘green-washing’ and ‘woke-washing’ in the health & beauty sector (brands faking their sustainability credentials or their interest in social issues like Black Lives Matter) is becoming noticeable.

A quarter (26%) think those brands come across as inauthentic as a result, while one in seven (14%) deliberately avoid the brands they see as behaving this way.

The nationally representative survey of 2,000 UK consumers was commissioned by The Pull Agency, a creative agency specialising in healthcare and beauty brands.

It noted that being an ethical corporate citizen is what consumers want most from health & beauty brands, rather than the in-vogue focus on brand purpose, such as showing support for a social justice purpose like climate change, LGBTQ+ rights or diversity and inclusion. In fact, the study highlighted that only 22% of UK consumers are familiar with the term ‘brand purpose’, while 37% think they’ve heard of it, but admit they don’t really know what it involves.

Kathrin Rodriguez-Bruessau, head of brand strategy at The Pull Agency, comments: “While the marketing world would have us believe that a grandiose brand social purpose is paramount, consumers don’t seem to care as much or really understand the concept. According to most people, the first step is to just get the basics right and be a decent corporate citizen.

“Trying to be more than an ethical business actually carries risks. Several healthcare and beauty brands have got in trouble for perceived woke-washing and superficial attempts at brand activism. People are getting much smarter at identifying what’s real and what’s not and clearly irritated by inauthentic looking claims.”

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