Urban Decay is a cosmetic company founded in 1996. They started in response to the need for colors other than beige, pink, and red in the “prestige” (not drug store brand) cosmetics market. Many women, as it turns out, had alternative makeup taste. But this was the 90’s – remember grunge? – and this company had (has) names for it’s products like Roach, Smog, Rust, Oil Slick, you get the idea. Now in 2012, the company is still going strong selling cosmetics through it’s website, www.urbandecay.com and in Sephora, Ulta, and most recently, Macy’s.
Urban Decay had no choice but to join in when it came to social media. They are mentioned in fashion themed blogs constantly. On their website, they have a special sign-in for professional makeup artists. The annual September release of the “Book of Shadows” is a much anticipated event in the blogosphere. This year, the “book” includes QR codes that consumers can scan with their smartphones to get step-by-step tutorials on how to create eye look. There are also MANY YouTube tutorials on a number of Urban Decay product uses. The Facebook page recently had a Halloween challenge; customers were asked to upload pictures of their usage of Urban Decay makeup products as part of their costume, and there were several “behind-the-scenes” pictures of the Urban Decay employees and their Halloween creations.
Since their launch, Urban Decay has been vegan and cruelty free company…and here’s where there could have been trouble if they didn’t listen to “the groundswell.” On June 6, 2012 Urban Decay informed its customers, through its website and social media, of the decision to sell in China, a country that requires animal testing for cosmetics. In the announcement on Facebook, they acknowledged that “because of China’s policies, (Urban Decay’s decision to sell in China) has upset some of our loyal fans who are also animal rights activists…we are listening to all of your feedback and will try to address every single one of you.” There were 1334 angry replies. On July 6, 2012 Urban Decay announced their decision not to market in China. Humane Society International and The Humane Society of the United States even weighed in. “Urban Decay has made the right choice, having listened to the overwhelming outcry from its customers and taken the high road to fight animal testing by refusing to market in China.” (1)
Imagine everything to be learned from this. First and foremost, listening to social media was well worth it, and the company proved that sales were not more important than the integrity of Urban Decay. Secondly, animal rights activists learned all about this company and I’m sure apppreciate their integrity and commitment to the cruelty free protocol.