BC retailer London Drugs is the only major regional retailer who takes back all of their packaging for recycling, including the styrofoam. It’s a program called Bring Back the Pack, and to date, stores have relied mostly on word-of-mouth, PR and social media to spread the news about it. But what would happen if they took the news to the airwaves, newspapers and the streets? Would it increase store visits or market share? Unicycle Creative was asked to find out.

StyroCycle gets the campaign rolling – literally.

The media strategy consisted of radio ads, newspaper advertorials and PR in the Victoria area. But the most unique media vehicle of all was the one pedaled by Victoria Pedicab Company President and Owner Andrew Capeau. The StyroCycle was inspired by on-line photos of cyclists in Asia hauling styrofoam blocks in outrageous stacks. Unicycle Creative took this idea and designed a pedicab shell that would be visually arresting, stable and safe, and still allow for passengers. Then we designed a month-long schedule of weekend appearances, store visits and media opportunities.

Stop. Gawk. Take a picture. Ask questions.

Victoria Pedicab President Capeau is used to getting stares, but found that the StyroCycle was a bona-fide attention-magnet.

“Pedestrians, car, bus and truck drivers are gawking with jaws wide open.  I am seeing double takes, triple takes and even full on stops with fingers pointing.  Skateboarders to baby stroller pushers are giving me the thumbs up.  I’m posing for pictures, high fives are exchanged…it’s a love in, baby!” (For his full Day-in-the-Life of a Guerilla-Media StyroCycle Pilot blog, click here)

Pocket-sized recycling cheat-sheet handouts gave potential customers even more reasons to visit one of the four Victoria stores. Meanwhile, the London Drugs PR team was busy arranging interviews, and the StyroCycle made good on-camera opportunities for both the Mayor of Victoria and BC’s Minister of Environment.

More recycling = more visits?

London Drugs is still analyzing the overall results of the campaign, but anecdotal response is strong.

  • Some stores reported increases in recycling as high as 200% the week after the StyroCycle’s appearance.
  • All stores reported positive customer feedback
  • StyroCycle has appeared in blogs, videos and too many snapshots to count
  • One customer evcen took the time to write a letter saying the recycling policy would positively impact their future buying decisions.

For a multi-category retailer like London Drugs, where almost every store visit results in a purchase, driving store visits with recycling is a great way to do good and get more sales. By going the extra mile to market a unique program like Bring Back the Pack, recycling can even build longer term brand loyalty.

Facebook, Blogs and the StyroCycle YouTube video will continue to get the message out beyond the campaign end date, but will the StyroCycle ride again? Time will tell. But if not, at least we know it will be recycled.

Styrofoam Recycling Guerilla Advertising

BC Minister of Environment Terry Lake with London Drugs Senior VP Clint Mahlman checking out the big bumper sticker.

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