Products of Change


Tue 13 Jul 2021 | by Michelle Urquhart

Make brands engaging and relevant to customers

Gavin Ellis, director and co-founder of Hubbub spoke at SILC21 on the need for brands to seek innovative and collaborative ways to engage customers in environmental messages. Hubbub is a marketing specialist for brands that want to drive societal change through their marketing campaigns. Gavin opened by explaining that although the environment was high on the agenda of most customers, it’s not necessarily the number one, so brands need to look for hooks and other ways that might make people take action. “We always start with our research, what are the audience interested in?” said Gavin. “It might not be the same as what we’re interested in, but you need to think creatively.” Gavin’s first example of exactly this was Hubbub’s cigarette ballot bin for its Neat Streets campaign. Gavin explained that the idea came about after watching people’s behaviour when it came to littering. Our research found that litter was mainly generated at night by young men and that cigarette butts were the item most littered. “At that stage they weren’t particularly interested in littering, so we thought, what are they interested in? And we came up with football.” The first ballot bin was installed in Villiers Street in London with two slots to dispose cigarette butts. Each slot has a window to display the used butts, allowing a public opinion poll to be generated as the old butts pile up on either side. “The first question we asked was about the world’s best footballer: Messi or Ronaldo. It was 2015, so a relevant question! It really captured the public’s attention, and we even had a phone call from the sports desk at The Daily Mail asking about it. Not something that happens every day at an environmental charity,” exclaimed Gavin. “The voting bin is a simple solution but has provoked an incredibly positive response,” said Gavin. “We now sell the ballot bin and have sold thousands in 39 countries across the world.” Another example Gavin gave was the Ikea Live Lagom campaign from 2017. “Live Lagom was created to explore how the power of community, alongside tailored support, can inspire people to live more sustainably. ‘Lagomers’ (as they are called) who took part in the trial have reported saving hundreds on bills, feeling happier and more in control of their lives. The participants– many of whom were persuaded to join for the free IKEA stuff- shared their tips and encouraging friends, family and community groups to get involved, together creating a ripple effect reaching thousands of people.” Questionnaire responses from the first two years of the project show that before the project 25% thought it affordable to buy sustainable products, and 62% thought so after, demonstrating a marked shift in perceptions on the affordability of sustainable living. Did you miss Gavin’s presentation at SILC21? You can catch up with SILC on-demand to see more innovative examples of marketing campaigns from Hubbub as well as all the presentations from the two-day conference held over 24-25 June 2021. Didn’t have ticket to the conference? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered too. You can buy still buy tickets to access all the content on-demand.