Alba comes out swinging
FameFlynet, Paul Zimmerman/ Laura Cavanaugh/ Sonia Moskowitz/ Getty Images
Last week, after word got out that The Honest Co. was facing a $5 million class action lawsuit, I wondered if Jessica Alba, co-founder and celebrity face of the company, would come out swinging or retreat, taking her time to come up with strategy and let her lawyers handle the filing.
She’s definitely come out swinging – she’s been very high profile this past week and you can read her full response to the lawsuit here. First, the business strategy: she chose to give her exclusive response to Pret-a-Reporter, the style/shopping/beauty arm of The Hollywood Reporter, and Business Insider. So she covered her lifestyle and her “boss” bases. She immediately tapped into her base, mentioning her kids and her commitment to making them safer. Making all of us safer, because POISON.
It’s been a big summer for The Honest Co. The company has launched airport kiosks, it’s been doing a lot of business in China (reportedly, with hopes of expanding into that lucrative market) and this week launched Honest Beauty. But there’ve been setbacks, too, like reports that the sunscreen will leave you feeling crispy after 20 minutes in the sun. The Honest Co. initially blamed “user error”, but than backed off those claims. Just when that seemingly went away, out comes this class action lawsuit.
Getting sued is never fun, but getting sued for deception when the business is literally built on the idea of honesty is not a good look. And because Jessica is the face of The Honest Co., because she’s the proud mom and authority on not surrounding kids with POISON, she has to be the public defender of The Honest Co., a role she seems very willing to take on.
The Honest Co.’s profile is on Jessica. She secures endless amounts of publicity for the company, she has tapped into her celebrity connections, she gets glowing stories and photo shoots with her kids in magazines. And now she has to respond to consumer class action lawsuits.
So of course she’s not backing down – it’s her livelihood and at this point, her career legacy, and she is doing everything she can to make people believe that she is, above all else, honest. But how do you prove something so subjective? Honor and Haven are cute, but I don’t think that will suffice this time. Which is good! Jessica is always telling us how boss she is, and now we get to see what that means.
As of this morning, another class action lawsuit has been filed against The Honest Co. (this time for sunscreen – click here for more). How will she respond, and whom will she recruit? This is so much more interesting than another product line sell – it’s more like a cage fight. If you think Jessica is too sweet or down-to-earth to get dirty remember that, before she become a posh eco-mommy, she was known to be ruthless when trying to land roles. If she can secure a franchise that wasn’t meant for her, how hard can a few consumer lawsuits be?
Attached - Jessica Alba at Good Morning America this morning and promoting Honest Beauty last night in New York.