Online fashion retailer Lyst has sparked condemnation from animal welfare groups and social media users after launching its “Canine Collection” campaign, which people say is promoting dogs as fashion accessories.
Introducing the Canine Collection! Be sure to compliment your summer outfit with a four legged friend 🐶 pic.twitter.com/tUYMHibQSj
— Lyst (@lyst) May 9, 2016
Animal welfare groups were quick to condemn the stunt for its dangerously casual attitude towards dog ownership. UK-based organisation Dogs Trust released the following statement: “Certain breeds of small dogs are increasingly regarded as fashion accessories and bought without due consideration and thought. This trend and demand can fuel unscrupulous breeding and is why Dogs Trust has been working for the past three years on an investigative campaign to stop the puppy smuggling trade. We are also contacting Lyst to discuss this directly.”
Lyst’s social media was also full of criticism of the promotion, and at least six complaints have been registered with the Advertising Standard Authority (ASA). It has emerged that social media agency Social Chain helped the campaign with tweets from accounts purporting to be happy with their new pets, which only added to the confusion and outrage that dogs were actually being sold through Lyst’s website. There are also questions about the involvement of Dogs Trust, and the fact that some Lyst employee’s concerns about the tone of the campaign went unheeded as it was being developed.
All in all, this campaign is a perfect example of an idea which may have seemed good in internal meetings, but has backfired due to a lack of review and listening to concern.