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Campaign: "Don't buy Coca-Cola if you don't help us recycle"

Updated: 1 day ago

An effective advertisement, based on knowledge of behaviour



In 2019, Coca-Cola's summer campaign was all about recycling. With 'Let's not waste this Summer', Coca-Cola focuses on the correct return of empty packaging. Before concept development, we took al look at which buttons they should push to make a real impact on people's behaviour.


Without a doubt, the most striking advertisement from this campaign is the large billboard with the slogan: 'Don't buy Coca-Cola if you don't help us recycle'. What makes this ad so effective? This:


1: Shared responsibility

To stimulate recycling behaviour, it is important that there is a shared sense of responsibility. Brands or organizations must take their responsibility, but that should not come at the expense of the consumer's sense of responsibility.


The slogan 'Don't buy Coca-Cola if you don't help us recycle' pushes the right buttons when it comes to responsibility. Coca-Cola clearly places a great deal of responsibility on the consumer, but the brand also puts itself in a vulnerable and responsible position. Because as a profitable organization, asking consumers to stop buying your product as long as they do not return its empty packaging correctly, you also take on a great responsibility.


The effect measurement of the campaign shows us that after seeing the campaign, people feel like Coca-Cola is more responsible and takes more responsibility for recycling. In addition, the consumer's own sense of responsibility also increases.


2: Breaking habits and provoking a conscious decision

Let's face it, this message from Coca-Cola is quite unexpected. Because who expects large commercial organizations to ask consumers to stop buying their product? This unexpected message stands out, and disturbs our thoughts, routines and habits. As a result, the message gets through to people better, and they are more likely to make a conscious choice. If they normally throw their bottle on the street or in the general waste instead of recycling it, there is a good chance that they will think this through more carefully after seeing this advertisement.


3: Setting a clear norm and expectation

In addition, Coca-Cola sets a very clear norm and expectation with this slogan. When you buy our product, you recycle it. And if you don't, we disapprove.


After seeing the campaign, the feeling that recycling is normal and desirable increases. In addition, people have a better understanding of what is expected of them with regard to recycling.


4: Using brand power

And finally, as usual, Coca-Cola makes good use of its brand power by being very present and recognizable as a brand. And this is important, because the norm and disapproval we just mentioned are more likely to do the trick if they come from a strong brand. The message about recycling is more powerful when it comes from Coca-Cola, compared to a (semi-) government or environmental organization.


That is partly because it gives people the feeling that the goal is common and achievable. If large organizations such as Coca-Cola are also committed to recycling, then it must be important and we must be able to do it! It motivates people to do their part: return their empty bottles. After seeing the campaign, people have a greater sense that recycling is a common and achievable goal, and the feeling that they can make an impact themselves increases.


With their summer campaign and the slogan 'Don't buy Coca-Cola if you don't help us recycle', Coca-Cola pushes the right buttons to encourage people to dispose of their waste correctly. By including knowledge about buttons and behaviour during the development of a campaign, advertisement and/or slogan, you can change behaviour more effectively and thus increase its positive impact.


Read and learn more about the buttons for collecting and separating waste.

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