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Out With the New, In With the Old

Out With the New, In With the Old

Danielle Smith

Danielle Smith

May 21, 2019

How BETC Paris made the old new again for the US launch of France’s leading refurbished technology provider, Back Market.

"Once upon a time they tweeted about how desperately they wanted the (then) brand new iPhone5 or BlackBerry… So, to promote our refurbished products, we decided to refurbish their tweets!"

Creative Directors Arnaud Assouline and Benjamin Le Breton of BETC Paris share how they helped Back Market, the French leader in refurbished smartphones create a viral campaign on Twitter that earned 311 influencer tweets and 187 smartphones sent with a $0 media spend for the launch of their US business.   

 

Give us some background on your relationship with Back Market and the creative brief they gave the team.

We were really lucky because Back Market, the French leader in refurbished smartphones, approached us directly saying they’re fans of the agency :). They were hoping for our help to launch the Back Market platform in the US. They were looking to bring eyeballs and attention to what they do but they didn’t really have a big budget. The brief was pretty cool and simple: be creative enough to help them get noticed quickly!  

How did the idea come about to low-key hack Twitter?

The United States is still more reluctant to embrace the idea of refurbished products so we had to find a concept that would catch the attention of even the most skeptical potential customers, who normally prefer brand new technology which is widely seen as a status symbol.

The idea of using influencers quickly rose to mind but the problem was the money. Super-influencers were totally out of our budget — asking for thousands of dollars for a single promotional tweet.

Then came the idea: After all, many celebrities had already tweeted about the products Back Market is selling today — but years ago. Once upon a time they tweeted about how desperately they wanted the (then) brand new iPhone5 or BlackBerry… So, to promote our refurbished products, we decided to refurbish their tweets!

We analyzed the biggest American celebrities Twitter accounts to find old tweets mentioning our products. We retweeted them with absurd answers, as if they were just published yesterday, sent them the smartphones of their (past) dreams, and let everybody know about it!

The result? The biggest influencer campaign ever done on twitter with celebrities like former president, Barack Obama, President Donald J. Trump, Kim Kardashian, Elon Musk, and 300 others tweeting about our products without them knowing it…and all of it for free!

How does the campaign tie into the mission of Back Market?

The smartphone industry is spending billions of dollars every year to make it seem like their latest product is indispensable—the must-have. Back Market’s mission is to offer last season’s to-die-for products at a way cheaper price. With this in mind, our idea was on spot on for them; it was a way to mock and take advantage of a marketing trend (influencers) as well as to trigger a thinking that is based on the brand mission — selling you the products you were desperately wished to own a couple of years ago to often for half the price of the latest model in the store.

"Feedback from the superinfluencers was not necessary to make the idea work, but it was an added bonus to see them make a little fun of themselves and simultaneously promote our campaign."

The writing is very tight in the spot—was it all from the script or was there an element of improvisation involved?

We loved the idea but had to find a way to explain it in a didactical way without getting boring. That was the main mission of the spot: a fake corporate video, as absurd as our idea, presenting the whole operation. As it was made for the American market, we thought that it would be fun to insist on the way people in the US could imagine a European tech startup: a mix of tradition and modernity. So here are our fake, stereotypical Back Market marketing team and CEO, in their weird European castle, with crazy tech screens hidden everywhere, in their very cliché environment. We put a lot of thought into keeping things entertaining, absurd, yet easy enough to understand the whole concept, and teasing people enough to give them a taste of where we were directing them: our Twitter account.

Have you heard back from any of the influencers after they received their refurbished phones?

Yes. We were really happy because out of the 300 celebrities involved without them even knowing it, 3 of them were pleased by our little hijack, laughed at themselves and saluted the initiative through Instagram stories. Feedback from the super-influencers was not necessary to make the idea work, but it was an added bonus to see them make a little fun of themselves and simultaneously promote our campaign. So Chloë Moretz,  Jessica Biel and Vanilla Ice (“Ice Ice Baby”), thank you very much!

Any fun stories from the shoot?

It was fun to poke at French stereotypes through improvisation, in front of a French crew, with a non-European cast. We all laughed a lot. Obviously it was not as easy as it seems on screen but all the actors were really great and brought a lot of talent and personality to the characters. At the end of the day, we were all really happy about the overall look of the video.

How has the campaign been received so far?

Pretty well actually. Thanks to the PR success of our little joke, we generated an important increase of traffic for Back Market, with more than 26,000 orders placed in 48 hours, and an overall traffic boom on the US website of 457% in a month—without any media investment. So we were happy regarding reception, and Back Market was thrilled as well!

What’s next for the campaign?

This first collaboration went really well in terms of process and results, so we will hopefully work together in the future. Back Market’s mission, products, and philosophy represent a lot of interesting opportunities in terms of communication, so we are looking forward to extending our collaboration.

Following the campaign, the idea was praised even from a B2B perspective, as new partners asked to join the Back Market marketplace and new investors reached out to Back Market to invest in the company.

"Once upon a time they tweeted about how desperately they wanted the (then) brand new iPhone5 or BlackBerry… So, to promote our refurbished products, we decided to refurbish their tweets!"

Creative Directors Arnaud Assouline and Benjamin Le Breton of BETC Paris share how they helped Back Market, the French leader in refurbished smartphones create a viral campaign on Twitter that earned 311 influencer tweets and 187 smartphones sent with a $0 media spend for the launch of their US business.   

 

Give us some background on your relationship with Back Market and the creative brief they gave the team.

We were really lucky because Back Market, the French leader in refurbished smartphones, approached us directly saying they’re fans of the agency :). They were hoping for our help to launch the Back Market platform in the US. They were looking to bring eyeballs and attention to what they do but they didn’t really have a big budget. The brief was pretty cool and simple: be creative enough to help them get noticed quickly!  

How did the idea come about to low-key hack Twitter?

The United States is still more reluctant to embrace the idea of refurbished products so we had to find a concept that would catch the attention of even the most skeptical potential customers, who normally prefer brand new technology which is widely seen as a status symbol.

The idea of using influencers quickly rose to mind but the problem was the money. Super-influencers were totally out of our budget — asking for thousands of dollars for a single promotional tweet.

Then came the idea: After all, many celebrities had already tweeted about the products Back Market is selling today — but years ago. Once upon a time they tweeted about how desperately they wanted the (then) brand new iPhone5 or BlackBerry… So, to promote our refurbished products, we decided to refurbish their tweets!

We analyzed the biggest American celebrities Twitter accounts to find old tweets mentioning our products. We retweeted them with absurd answers, as if they were just published yesterday, sent them the smartphones of their (past) dreams, and let everybody know about it!

The result? The biggest influencer campaign ever done on twitter with celebrities like former president, Barack Obama, President Donald J. Trump, Kim Kardashian, Elon Musk, and 300 others tweeting about our products without them knowing it…and all of it for free!

How does the campaign tie into the mission of Back Market?

The smartphone industry is spending billions of dollars every year to make it seem like their latest product is indispensable—the must-have. Back Market’s mission is to offer last season’s to-die-for products at a way cheaper price. With this in mind, our idea was on spot on for them; it was a way to mock and take advantage of a marketing trend (influencers) as well as to trigger a thinking that is based on the brand mission — selling you the products you were desperately wished to own a couple of years ago to often for half the price of the latest model in the store.

"Feedback from the superinfluencers was not necessary to make the idea work, but it was an added bonus to see them make a little fun of themselves and simultaneously promote our campaign."

The writing is very tight in the spot—was it all from the script or was there an element of improvisation involved?

We loved the idea but had to find a way to explain it in a didactical way without getting boring. That was the main mission of the spot: a fake corporate video, as absurd as our idea, presenting the whole operation. As it was made for the American market, we thought that it would be fun to insist on the way people in the US could imagine a European tech startup: a mix of tradition and modernity. So here are our fake, stereotypical Back Market marketing team and CEO, in their weird European castle, with crazy tech screens hidden everywhere, in their very cliché environment. We put a lot of thought into keeping things entertaining, absurd, yet easy enough to understand the whole concept, and teasing people enough to give them a taste of where we were directing them: our Twitter account.

Have you heard back from any of the influencers after they received their refurbished phones?

Yes. We were really happy because out of the 300 celebrities involved without them even knowing it, 3 of them were pleased by our little hijack, laughed at themselves and saluted the initiative through Instagram stories. Feedback from the super-influencers was not necessary to make the idea work, but it was an added bonus to see them make a little fun of themselves and simultaneously promote our campaign. So Chloë Moretz,  Jessica Biel and Vanilla Ice (“Ice Ice Baby”), thank you very much!

Any fun stories from the shoot?

It was fun to poke at French stereotypes through improvisation, in front of a French crew, with a non-European cast. We all laughed a lot. Obviously it was not as easy as it seems on screen but all the actors were really great and brought a lot of talent and personality to the characters. At the end of the day, we were all really happy about the overall look of the video.

How has the campaign been received so far?

Pretty well actually. Thanks to the PR success of our little joke, we generated an important increase of traffic for Back Market, with more than 26,000 orders placed in 48 hours, and an overall traffic boom on the US website of 457% in a month—without any media investment. So we were happy regarding reception, and Back Market was thrilled as well!

What’s next for the campaign?

This first collaboration went really well in terms of process and results, so we will hopefully work together in the future. Back Market’s mission, products, and philosophy represent a lot of interesting opportunities in terms of communication, so we are looking forward to extending our collaboration.

Following the campaign, the idea was praised even from a B2B perspective, as new partners asked to join the Back Market marketplace and new investors reached out to Back Market to invest in the company.

Danielle Smith is the Communications Manager of Havas Group. She’s believes every meal can be tacos if you have tortillas and the heart to try.

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