Big Ideas
. 20/03/24
How To Promote Anti-Consumption In Your Marketing Campaign

As a profit-making company, can you also promote – and live – the virtues of less consumerism? absolutely.

From a business perspective, it might sound like madness to encourage customers to stop buying. Yet, in a world where we increasingly favour brands committed to sustainability, promoting less can go a long way.

For consumers, the products we choose convey our lifestyle and values to others. By promoting repairs, maintenance, and high-quality products, companies are telling the world we don’t need to buy more.

  • By creating products and services that last.
  • By continually looking at your supply chain and seeing what can be cut out, reused, and improved upon.
  • By only giving customers what they want and need.
  • By establishing consumer behaviours that work with rather than against nature and people.
  • By simplifying.

To sell or to inspire?

That’s the chicken/egg situation every client grapples with.

The bottom line can be very fragile, particularly with small businesses, so it can be tempting to act a bit desperate.

But we suggest you lean 70/30 towards Inspire.

It’s like that frog in water analogy.

Pop the frog in water and warm it up. That’s Inspire. It feels good, and they’ll return if the water’s the right temperature.

Throw the frog into boiling water, and they’ll jump right out. That’s the Sell.

If you were the potential customer, wouldn’t you prefer the toe-dipping connection over the hard sell?

The enough concept

Several brands have taken this idea one step further and managed to re-think marketing as a tool that promotes anti-consumption, focusing on the ‘enough’ concept. 

They promote repairs, maintenance, and high-quality products overing buying more.

Again, these are examples of slow marketing:

  • Patagonia with its previous Don’t Buy This Jacket campaign, as well as its Worn Wear platform that buys back, cleans, and repairs old Patagonia products to be resold.
  • Department store Selfridges added a Silence Room to escape shopping, and temporarily stripped all labels and logos from packaging. 
  • Outdoor clothing brand REI closes all stores and offers employees paid leave on Black Friday to enjoy the outdoors with its #OptOutside campaign.
  • Oatly Milk’s OOH campaign that poked fun at its own advertising with witty quips.
  • Dove stopped advertising its products and began campaigning for Real Beauty in 2004, which transformed into today’s Self-Esteem project.

Isn’t it time we put an end to ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ by redefining what healthy consumption looks like in our marketing campaigns?

Put customers voices first

Newsflash! Your customers do not want to be sold to all the time, but by golly, do they want to be heard.

Ask your existing customers what makes them happy. What they would do differently. Be gracious and grateful for all the inputs they share with you, and use their insights to improve your business offering.

And don’t let your customer engagement be a one time thing – to guarantee continued loyalty you need to keep engaging with them across the months and years.

Are you a purpose-led brand that’s thinking about creating an anti-consumption marketing campaign? We would LOVE to help you! Get in touch with us!

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