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Moisturizer promising “catcalling” gets discontinued

A moisturizer from Burt’s Bees’ Güd label that promises “catcalling” sparks outrage.
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Ryan Porter, November 18, 2013 2:31:35 PM

Marketing fail! Güd, a younger, less beard-focused brand under the Burt’s Bees umbrella, has apologized for their Vanilla Flame Body Butter’s promises not just to relieve dry skin with a pleasant vanilla aroma, but also to generate an absolute explosion in “catcalling.” “Soak in the moisturizing seductiveness of shea butter and indulge in the scent of vanilla and rice milk. And let the catcalling commence.” It’s every woman’s dream!

Actually, it is so not every woman’s dream, and there is an anti-street harassment advocacy group in place to deal with it. Hollaback! caught word of the product and created a Change.org petition demanding Güd apologize and cease production of “products that legitimize street harassment” (they also asked for a donation, but later backed down from that questionable request). The petition accumulated 2000 signatures, doubling Hollaback!’s 1000-signature goal.

To their credit, Güd did agree to ax the moisturizer (which may have been a little rash since it was really just the language used that was the problem — who doesn’t like vanilla?). In a very PR-y apology on their Facebook page, they wrote, “our products are designed to make women feel good on the inside and out. We want women everywhere to be able to enjoy amazing smelling natural personal care products that will leave them smiling, not attracting undesirable and disrespectful attention.”

Even the apology was divisive, with over 200 responses that ranged from “this small number of idiots should not buy this product if it offends them” to “catcalling is part of rape culture.” But at least long after this is forgotten by Burt Bee’s Facebook friends, there is one person who is not going to block out this controversy anytime soon—the person in charge of marketing at Güd. If it means that person is reading their copy a little closer than that’s a win.

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