Lush made its inaugural SXSW activation in 2019.  The USA based cosmetics company produces a variety of products from bath wash, to haircare, skincare, moisturizers, deodorants, perfumes, lipsticks, eyeliners, and more.  What was particularly unique about this activation was the fact that we’re seeing more and more retail and CPG brands embrace technology, and using tech to enhance experiences for their customers.



Lush took two recycled shipping containers, and turned them into a replica of its Tokyo concept shop.  The clean and fresh smells coming from the containers made them hard to miss for SXSW attendees. It’s another example of brands using sensory appeal to be noticed.  Lush used sights, sounds, and smells to enhance the experience for event attendees.


Lush's SXSW Brand Activation



The Technology Behind the Activation

How much technology can fit into cosmetics? You may have to think outside the box. Lush used its core values to dictate how the company was going to integrate technology into the activation.  Lush is “forever against animal testing” and its products are all vegetarian, every product is handmade, and a large number of the products are “naked,”meaning there is no packaging. The idea behind the “naked” products is that an enormous amount of packaging is thrown away every day from CPG products, and Lush is trying to do its part in slowing down the amount of waste produced.

Every product at the activation was naked, so how did SXSW attendees learn about the different products?

Lush developed a mobile app, which employees had on their phones. This app was used to scan the products on the shelves at the activation to tell the attendees about the products, the contents, use cases, benefits, and even showed the cosmetic products in use.

Not only was this an interactive way to show product information, but the app provided more information than traditional packaging would have contained. This also created employee engagement with activation attendees, as only employees had the app, so attendees had to ask an employee to scan a product to learn more and see it in use. Employees then were able to answer follow-up questions from the attendees and talk about the Lush brand and its values.



Lush's SXSW Brand Activation 2


In conclusion

It’s increasingly interesting to see retail and CPG brands using technology in new and creative ways.  Lush used tech to further advance and embrace its core values, while creating engagement between attendees and their employees.  Not everyone wants to use an app to learn more about products, but for a brand who touts its avoidance of any animal testing, the naked products, and has a focus on being environmentally friendly, this was a great way to further advance the company’s agenda and build brand equity using technology.



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