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How H&M turned a billboard into handbags in sustainability pledge


By Awards Analyst, writer

December 6, 2022 | 4 min read

Kinetic, The7Stars and H&M won at The Drum Awards for Out of Home 2022 in the Sustainability category for a campaign showcasing its commitment to be climate positive by 2040.


How H&M turned a billboard into handbags in sustainability pledge

The brief

To achieve its climate-positive commitment, H&M has to become a circular fashion business and drive that consumer behavior, encouraging people to reuse and repair as much as possible before recycling their clothes.

It wanted to inspire and encourage its core female 16-24 audience to extend the life of their clothes and accessories, by taking the future of fashion into consideration.

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The idea

It wanted a media campaign that could deliver reach and impact but embody the campaign's purpose, therefor it embraced a combination of wildposting, murals and banners. Even the murals could be washed off without generating any waste.

The centerpiece of the campaign was a fashion retailer first. Instead of leaving our spectacular vinyl billboards to landfill, it cut the vinyl down to size and repurposed it into tote bags to be used by H&M shoppers and influencers.

It selected large, impactful sites in Shoreditch, Stratford and Brixton: all areas of high footfall, close to stores containing the collection. After being on display for two weeks, the vinyls were taken down, carefully folded and transported to Carradice of Nelson, a small outfit in the little town of Nelson, Lancashire, which since 1932 has specialized in manufacturing long-lasting, hardwearing cycle bags. There, the giant pieces each measuring 305 sqm were cleaned, cut to size and re-stitched. From the other end of the process emerged 250 beautifully designed bags. The bags were then delivered back to the store to form part of the collection and be given out to key fashion influencers

These bags continue to create earned media value for H&M’s critical sustainability agenda, as the campaign’s message is retold through the use of the bags and spread across social platforms. Literally evidencing circular fashion through media.

The results

Post campaign brand tracking found an all-time high of 67% of women aware of H&M agreed that “sustainability is a core part of the brand.” In comparison, the average for this measure across the other nine competitor brands tracked is just 17%. The collection itself was also a huge success. Some pieces sold out on the morning of the launch and a total of 625m unique UK visitors went to the website during the launch month. London stores sold out completely.

The Collection also received 59 pieces of press coverage, including three front covers. Crucially, the zero-waste media is now embedded in all H&M briefs.

This campaign was a winner at The Drum Awards for Out of Home 2022. You can see all the winners here. The Drum Awards for Marketing are currently open for entry. Find out how you can enter now.

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