Founder-CEO Anita Roddick said the 30-minute program will begin this month in the U.S. The infomercial, unveiled last week during Ms. Roddick's speech at the Direct Marketing Association's annual conference here, featured shots of tribesmen intermixed with Body Shop products. She also said the program addresses recycling and animal testing, issues close to her heart.
"I haven't a clue if it's going to work," Ms. Roddick said in an interview after the speech. "I couldn't stand in front of the camera and say, `Buy this product'-I'd be too embarrassed."
She also said Body Shop Direct, a Tupperware-style home-party business, will be tested in the U.K.
In her speech and in the interview, Ms. Roddick vigorously defended her company's reaction to a recent uncomplimentary Business Ethics article. The Body Shop acquired a copy of the magazine's subscriber list and mailed a letter disputing Business Ethics' contention that the personal-care company overstated its environmental record.
"We fought and we were challenged because we fought back," she said. Though the company chose not to file suit, "in America the way you fight back is to litigate ... Everything that was said we had an answer for and that was very acceptable in Europe."
She derided those who criticized Body Shop for writing to Business Ethics' subscribers, saying, "What are you supposed to do when you're raped, pull your panties down?"
Even though the Body Shop's hallmark is a lack of traditional advertising, "of course advertising is going to be important so you can get your message across in an undiluted way."
The key, she said, is to know what makes a company different and "shout those differences from the rooftops."