A year ago, Poundland’s Gift of Nothing campaign would have been heralded for its tongue-in-cheek response to people asking for “nothing” for Valentine’s Day.
However, a lot can change in a year and there’s been a global shift in attitudes towards plastic consumption. Thanks to strong stats in media, shocking imagery and heavy social engagement on the topic, my environmentally apathetic housemate even started recycling!
This could have been a great opportunity to give some of Poundland’s own waste plastic a second lease of life or an opportunity to engage a plastic-free partner. It worked for Adidas and its Ultraboost X Parley collaboration after all.
But these brands are on two very different missions and looking to engage entirely different audiences.
Adidas wants to “push the boundaries of products, experiences and services to drive brand desire” and its CSR goals map to this. Its audience is leaning towards brands with purpose. And Adidas’ recycled shoes have shown that purpose doesn’t mean sacrificing profit – the two can work harmoniously.
Meanwhile, Poundland simply aims to “bring you amazing value products every day”, and it doesn’t commit to going above and beyond to reduce plastic waste. Its audience will shop where they get the best bang for their buck; they’re not on the hunt for validation about their ethical decisions.
Unfortunately for Poundland, the UK’s media have spoken and branded The Gift of Nothing a PR flop. Let this be a reminder to all that brand purpose should be central to the stories you tell.
To learn more about building business on privacy, purpose and personalisation, download Hotwire and D/SRUPTION’s latest eBook series here.
The Gift of Nothing, naturally priced at £1, is intended as "a bit of fun", says the retailer. But Friends of the Earth and other campaign groups have complained that whatever Poundland was thinking about, it certainly wasn't the environment.