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Behind the idea: Professor Green spins us a shocking tale of fashion waste

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With almost 1,000 items of clothing going to landfill every thirty seconds in the UK alone, it’s undeniable that fashion waste is hurting our planet. This is because the conversation is always centred around the new clothes we covet, rather than the ones already hanging in our wardrobe.

Eco-pioneer Ecover wants to change the conversation and by championing the environmental benefits of keeping our clothes in-use for longer and out of the landfill. It’s a mission statement that was brought vividly to life by Uncommon in the global creative campaign “Laundry Against Landfill.” 

The campaign is centred around a powerful demonstration film starring Professor Green, who makes a moving speech direct to camera whilst perched on top of a washing machine in full spin. It’s a film created to visualise the shocking statistics behind fashion waste and also promotes Ecover’s new laundry detergent, which features a new formula with plant-based ingredients that helps your clothes last longer.

The campaign, which is also being supported by impactful, guerrilla-style OOH, launched at a pinnacle moment in the fashion industry’s calendar - the day before London Fashion Week, with the aim to target the fashion community and raise attention around this important conversation. To gain further insight into the campaign and its powerful message, I caught up with Tom Houser and Christopher Keatinge - the lead creatives behind the campaign. 

What was the brief?

One of the best things we can do for the planet right now is to keep the things we have in use for longer. With this thought in mind, the green-cleaning scientists at Ecover reformulated their laundry liquid to help keep our clothes in use for longer. They came to us needing a new mission statement and brand look, to help launch their war on fashion waste into the world.

How did the initial conversations/pitch/brainstorming phase go?

We quickly settled around the piece of language “Laundry Against Landfill”. In fact, Ecover were so keen on it, they trademarked it. The challenge became: how to bring this language to life in a way that felt honest and surprising.

Tell us about the concept and why it was the right choice?

After stumbling across the rather alarming fact that, here in the UK alone, almost 1,000 items of clothing are thrown away every 30 seconds, we wanted to find a way to make it famous. 30 seconds also happened to be the length of our TV ad - so a simple but powerful demonstration ad felt like the right way to go.

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 ​​What was the production process like?

The Glue Society’s knack for creating incredible installations made them a perfect production partner - their approach was to recreate a landfill site in a studio world and drop the clothes for real, from a great height. We wanted to ensure that we were true to our word and not allowing any of the clothes we shot with to end up in landfill. So all 1,000 clothes were sourced second-hand, and once we were done, washed and returned to charity. 

What’s the main message of the campaign and why is it important? 

In a nutshell, to keep our clothes in use and out of landfill. The longer we wear our garments in place of buying new ones, the better we can slow the cycle of fast fashion, its wasteful ways, and the impact it takes on our planet. That, coupled with a conscious effort to wash at cooler temperatures and only when absolutely necessary, as well as air-drying what we can, really does reduce the environmental impact of our weekly load of washing.

Why will the final assets resonate with consumers?

As individuals, it’s easy to feel powerless in the face of a very real and very scary climate crisis. Knowing that there are things we can do in our daily lives that can help - in even an infinitesimally small way - is a really bolstering and empowering thing. Ecover have always been - and will continue to be - on a mission to affect things for the better. They’re relentlessly positive in everything they do. So we want people to feel the energy and excitement of that and give them a cause to rally round.

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What’s the most interesting thing or unique fact about the campaign that will help it cut through?

Professor Green. Vibrating. On a washing machine.

How long did it take to create from inception to delivery? 

We took Ecover’s brief in April last year and have only just launched the campaign, so all in all about ten months. 

What do you hope it achieves for the brand now it’s out there? 

In a lot of ways, Ecover still feels like the plucky upstart in the cleaning aisle, despite its 40-year history fighting the industry’s toxic status quo. It’s always had a fervent fanbase of super eco-conscious consumers - but we hope our new campaign appeals to a more mainstream audience. After all, we’ve never been so aware of the impact we have on our world - and we’re all searching for ways to help.

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