For Earth Day, Back Market And Marcel Are Educating Apple Store Customers About The Environmental Impact Of Refurbishing

For Earth Day, Back Market And Marcel Are Educating Apple Store Customers About The Environmental Impact Of Refurbishing

Apr. 22, 2022

Back Market is a French startup that operates a marketplace of refurbished electronics devices in 16 countries. The company is valued at $5.7b .
The purchase of a refurbished smartphone saves 91% of CO2 emissions, 68800 liters of water, and 129 grams of precious metal... But as the latest IPCC report also points out, there is an urgent need to act because, in the tech industry alone, more than 1.5 billion new devices are manufactured each year, a figure that the planet can no longer keep up with.

On Earth Day, April 22, 2022, and to help people change their minds, Back Market and its Paris-based agency Marcel (part of Publicis Groupe) took our last chance to convince those who were about to buy a new device.

Say hello to Hack Market. An operation in which we used Apple's own technology, AirDrop, to broadcast our messages inside the temples of new tech: the Apple Store, directly on Apple's best sellers: iPhones, iPads, and MacBooks. The operation took place in 6 different stores in Europe (Paris, Berlin, and London), and delivered messages, letting each customer know that there is a more ecological and cheaper way to consume technology, by buying the same model, but refurbished at Back Market. A way to turn iPhones into a brand-new medium to promote an alternative consumption model.

Sébastien Jauffret, Associate Director at Marcel said:

"Thanks to the ADEME study [French public agency for ecological transition], we had incredible figures. But habits die hard, and figures, even as strong as these, can hardly compete with a well-established behavior. Especially when this behavior is maintained every day by brands that make their "new items" more and more desirable, and the need to enjoy them more and more imperative. We quickly realized that an awareness campaign on these numbers would not be enough. So, we decided to focus our efforts where and when they would get the most attention: the consumer's buying journey and delivering our message at the very moment they were about to make a new purchase. And to do it at the time when it would have the strongest PR resonance, for Earth Day 2022. "


Clément Séchet, Creative Director at Marcel said:

"On one of the agency's walls, there is this quote by Marcel Bleustein-Blanchet (founder of Publicis Groupe): "At some point you have to stop being reasonable and dare.” So we decided to go further than a traditional campaign by creating a new medium: the display models in the Apple Stores in Paris, Berlin, and London. We designed messages to convince customers in the "temple of new" about the huge difference between refurbished and new, which then redirected them to the Back Market website where they could directly buy the same model they were holding in their hands, but with among other things 91% less CO2. A very low-tech detour thanks to the file sending system developed by Apple: AirDrop, which made it possible to challenge each potential future purchase of a new smartphone on his or her purchase intention, to make him or her prefer the reconditioned one."


Prompting messages like "This iPhone 12 comes in pink, blue, black, and greener. Switch to refurbished" or "The iPhone you love without the carbon footprint you hate. Switch to refurbished." appeared on the screens to let customers know that there is a more environmentally friendly way to get the same device from Back Market.

The messages also redirected customers to the Back Market website where they could buy the same model directly with 91% less CO2.

Since 2014, through the sale of refurbished smartphones, Back Market has prevented:

  • The emission of 580,144,582.08 kg of CO2
  • The use of 1,878,480,190 kg of raw materials
  • The consumption of 498,015,680,400 L of water
  • The production of 1,274,162.93 kg of electronic waste

Vianney Vaute, co-founder of Back Market explained:

"When we started almost 8 years ago, we were already aware of the positive impact that refurbished products had on the environment compared to the same new products. But we didn't have the figures to back up our words. With the publication of the first part of the ADEME study, we can now claim it loud and clear. This operation is our way of opening the debate on the heavy environmental impacts of our bulimia to consume new. What could be better than the temple of this overconsumption at the time of the Earth Day to awaken the consciences? If we do not open a critical space, no alternative model, more sober and virtuous, will be able to see the light of day for the digital world. Whatever the field, change only comes about under the pressure of crowds of consumers or voters. We want to encourage as many people as possible to participate in this joyful revolution."

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