PR > PR Techniques


MARCEL, Paris / BACK MARKET / 2022


Silver Cannes Lions
CampaignCampaign(opens in a new tab)
Supporting Content
Presentation Image




Why is this work relevant for PR?

“Hack Market” is 100% a PR idea: a real-life stunt meant to make people talk, amplified through PR and paid local influencers.

It is a provocative campaign designed to raise awareness among the general public (not just eco-conscious consumers) about the sustainable impact of buying refurbished instead of new. We had new facts to communicate, but in today’s world facts are rarely impactful on their own. So we “hacked” the most famous brand in the world, on the day it would have the strongest PR echo globally, EarthDay 2022, even if we had to risk a major trial for it.


BackMarket is the leading European marketplace for refurbished tech, currently valued at 5.7 $Bn, and ranked #18 Most Innovative Company in the World by FastCompany in 2022.

Refurbished has found a natural audience in consumers looking to buy tech cheaper, offering them a more qualitative and reliable option than peer-to-peer second-hand marketplaces like eBay.

But BackMarket’s fight is not against second-hand: it’s against the New, for more sustainable consumption behaviors.

And compared to buying new, buying refurbished is still perceived by most consumers as a trade-off, if not a downgrade.

To convince more people to adopt this new mode of consumption, to choose refurbished beyond the promise of a good deal, BackMarket must demonstrate that it’s not a trade-off, but a better & smarter choice. One everybody should be proud of.

Because a refurbished smartphone is not only cheaper than a new one: its carbon footprint is 92% lower.

Describe the creative idea

To make buyers pay attention to another rational fact about sustainability, we decided to hijack their purchase journey and challenge their behavior precisely when they were considering buying a brand new device.

In the very “temple of new tech”: Apple Stores©.

For Earth Day, BackMarket launched Hack Market, a campaign using Apple’s own technology – AirDrop© ; and brand new iPhones©, to advertise OUR messages for a greener alternative.

Whenever shoppers were grabbing a device, a bot AirDropped© video ads that played right in front of their eyes, leading them to choose the greener and cheaper alternative on BackMarket instead of Apple.

Different messages were displayed, such as “The seller won’t tell you that you can buy the same model - but reduce 92% of its carbon footprint. Luckily we just did. Go refurbished ; “Did you know this iPhone is available in black, white, blue, and greener? Go refurbished.”

Describe the PR strategy

It took us 2 years to gather data about the real environmental impact of buying refurbished devices vs. New ones after we suggested a research conducted by France’s Public Agency for Ecological Transition, ADEME.

But facts can hardly compete against ingrained behavior. Especially when this behavior is nurtured everyday by brands that make their “new stuff” always more desirable, and the need to own it always more compelling.

A traditional PR campaign revealing these new facts would not be enough to impact the public opinion beyond the already eco-conscious consumers. So we decided to deliver them in a provocative way to make people notice: challenge the customers of the most famous brand of New tech – Apple, and to hijack their purchase journey right before they were about to make a new purchase. And we did it when it would have the strongest PR echo globally: for EarthDay 2022.

Describe the PR execution

To be provocative and make people talk, we played David vs. Goliath and leveraged Apple’s strengths to our own advantage (their stores, customers and technology)

To be sure that our sustainable message would be correctly understood and have the best chances to get a global echo, we chose to do it for EarthDay 2022.

To maximize our chances of amplification we have created several PR rings to kickstart a viral diffusion:

A first ring with local influencers to create the digital videos documenting the in-store experience - promoted with paid media during 1 week.

A second ring with influencers across all social platforms to spread the video into different communities: Tech-savvy, gamers, Apple fans or haters…

A third ring targeting media and journalists reached before the experience to simply speak about the campaign or after to come back on “how we did it” and get a long-lasting PR effect.

List the results

On April 22nd, based on accepted Airdrops©, we directly reached an estimated 5200 shoppers in the six Apple Stores of Paris, Berlin and London (FYI - 1M people visit Apple Stores across the world each day).

The one-day campaign also generated a strong echo beyond the stores the following week:

- 90 PR covered the operation in online and offline media across all continents, helping Back Market strengthen its status as a contender in the tech category

- The social videos of the operation went viral on all platforms (Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, LinkedIn, YouTube) and accumulated more than 100 million impressions (from April 22nd to April 29th)

Most of the reactions were very positive and praised:

- the cheekiness and courage of BackMarket

- the huge difference on sustainability between refurbished and new

Beyond this exposure for the brand, HackMarket had a fantastic impact as well for the refurbished category:

- intent to purchase refurbished increased on average by 27% following the campaign in the three countries (France/UK/Germany).

- refurbished was one of the key topics of Earthday 2022.

More Entries from Use of Events & Stunts in PR

24 items

Grand Prix Cannes Lions

Social Engagement



(opens in a new tab)

More Entries from MARCEL

24 items

Grand Prix Cannes Lions

Creative Effectiveness



(opens in a new tab)