Make ‘Bring Me Back’ betterPosted by david in blog June 20, 2012
What do you think of PUMA’s sustainability communication?
20 minutes ago I’d have said big thinkers, backed up by clever, creative execution.
Their environmental P&L is transparent, practical and ground breaking. It drives change in their business and enables others to hold them to account. Bold.
They changed their shoe packaging to reduce impact. Also an explicit sign to their customers about their commitment to sustainability. Clever.
They did the first African Unity kit for the 2010 World Cup and International Year of Biodiversity. Creative.
I also had a pair of blue suede Puma’s back in the Brit pop days that I had a lot of fun in, so I’ve got a soft spot for the brand.
19 minutes ago I saw Bring Me Back
An instore return-for-recycling/upcycling idea. Well executed website where you can tell the story of your old pair of jeans or tshirt before you say goodbye. Big red boxes in store, very visible, very clear. Overall a good way to reinforce the brand’s commitment to sustainability.
Then you read the messaging –
‘If you take it, bring it back’
In response to the FAQ ‘What do I get for my contribution?’
‘Feeling really, really good about yourself. You’re contributing to a healthier environment by properly disposing of your footwear, apparel and accessories.’
Guilt inducing responsibility followed up by a worthy pat on the back. Really? That’s lazy, old-school environmental campaign thinking. The stuff I’d have expected to see in campaigns 8-10 years ago. It clearly doesn’t work, otherwise I wouldn’t be writing this post and Futerra wouldn’t exist.
Flick to PUMA’s retail website
You see words like ‘hottest, joy, passion, confidence, looking good, teammates, action’. Couldn’t be further away from ‘feel really, really good about yourself’ could it?
There’s a glimmer of hope though. Tucked away on Bring Me Back is this –
‘With the Bring Me Back Program, materials are put back in the right place. This way, we don’t steal from nature, but borrow. And borrowing is a good thing.’
Creating a relationship between the individual and nature (yes a good thing to do), being playful with stealing and borrowing (lots of fun to be had here). There’s lots of mileage in this take on the idea that no one in PUMA’s space has explored before. So, I’m not sure why they led with out of date thinking, when they’ve got some new ideas in there.
If you want PUMA to change their messaging. To move away from lazy, old-hat environmentalism, into something more fun and engaging, why not tweet them.
I have - @PUMA
Go on PUMA, don’t repeat the past we know doesn’t work, do something different.
leave a comment
June 29, 2012
I’ve become increasingly interested – captivated really – by the role of values in whether a person engages with sustainability and the related issues of well-being, equality etc. With that in mind I’m struggling to decide whether I understand this post.
It would seem at first that Puma is responding to evidence that suggests that activating intrinsic motivation – as they seem to do with their response “Feeling really, really good about yourself…” – is the most effective – the only way really – to create “sustainable sustainability.”
The final quote you pull from Bring Me Back seems to follow on from this, which to me seems like the right direction.
Accordingly I feel like I’m missing something when I get to your assessment that these are different and that the former is “lazy, old-hat environmentalism.”
Would be interested to hear more about your underlying assumptions about what is effective and ineffective in their messaging.
July 01, 2012
Thanks, just wanted to quickly acknowledge your response while I chew on it a little longer. I’ve just been reading the Common Cause and Cultural Values report and interested in what their recommendations might look like when put into practice. I’m trying to reconcile what you have suggested with that.
So thanks, I’ll be back in touch with any questions or comments.