Once upon a time, Vanish owned the ‘stubborn stains’ category and no laundry cupboard was complete without the hot pink tub. But with the proliferation of own-brand alternatives and changing retail habits, people were falling out of love with Vanish, and penetration was dropping.
Whilst competition was an issue, we discovered a far more significant behavioural change in consumers: when people were faced with a stain too difficult to tackle, they simply threw the garment away. In this culture of disposable, ‘fast fashion', stubborn stains became a non-issue. This was not only an issue for Vanish, but also an issue for the planet.
Fast fashion is fast filling up landfills and putting extreme pressure on resources and our planet. We consume 400% more clothes than we did in the 1990s and over 80% of them end up in landfill.
In the UK alone, we each chuck out an average of eight items of clothing every year – and that’s not including the bags we drop off at the local charity shop guilt-free. That’s just what we throw in the bin. That’s 500 million garments a year. A whole truckload every 10 minutes. And a whopping number of these are thrown out because of a stain. A stain that could have been removed by Vanish.
We spotted an opportunity, and we took a stand. We defined a higher purpose to drive behaviour change – not just to sell more Vanish, and not just to save our clothes from stains – but to save them from landfill and do our small bit for the planet.
Our #loveforlonger campaign encouraged and enabled consumers to love their clothes for longer, thanks to the magic of Vanish. The campaign, which revolved around a high-profile, awareness-raising, stunt-based TVC, also spanned social, influencer engagement, PR and experiential – with clothes literally saved from landfill, washed with Vanish and resold ‘as new’ (before the ‘reveal’) in shops.
The campaign gained so much momentum, Keep Britain Tidy got involved and supported the movement, and was featured in a Channel 4 documentary about clothing waste. We even instigated legislation to add encouragements to ‘Love for Longer’ onto garment labels.
To continue the story, we created the Love for Longer Collection. We sent these ex-landfill items to insta mums and dads – asking them to love their clothes for longer. We even took our collection to the British high street, so unsuspected members of the public could acknowledge how disposable our clothes have become.
We made people realise that a stain doesn’t have to be the end of your clothes. Our story made national news, and people stopped to hear what we had to say – with 84% view through rate and over 175 million impressions in less than 8 weeks.
Our message reached millions, bringing status and fame to the brand and its cause and leading audiences to reappraise Vanish’s relevance and role, not just in today’s laundry routines, but in today’s world.