Back Market, French startup and European leader of refurbished products, decided to expand to the US. Not an easy feat in a country that loves new gadgets. We didn't have the budget for celebrity influencers and also we realised that most of them really wanted our products and had already tweeted about that years ago. So, to promote our refurbished products, we decided to refurbish their tweets. We retweeted them as if they were published the day before and sent them the smartphones of their (past) dreams, creating the biggest online influencer campaign ever, for free.
In 2019, Back Market, the French startup that has become in 5 years the European leader of refurbished products, decided to expand to the American market. This new opportunity to increase the brand’s revenue was a complex challenge as people in America are proud to buy expensive brand-new gadgets (from smartphones to voice assistants) as proof of personal achievement. The category in itself (refurbished products) is perceived as a second-hand market, even if most of the parts are replaced to make the products brand new again. Also, in the USA novelty is a constant advertising argument that cannot be applied to what Back Market sell. We had to find a clever solution to show Back Market as a trendy and cheap alternative to brand new electronic devices. Our brief was simple: getting noticed despite the market perception of what we do, without any media budget.
Describe the creative idea / insights (30% of vote)
Our first thought was to use influencers to value what we sell. Sadly, American global superstars with millions of followers were absurdly out of our budget, asking for hundreds of thousands of dollars to publish a single tweet or an Instagram picture. But we also realised that most of these American celebrities really wanted our products and had already tweeted about that years ago. So, to promote our refurbished products, we decided to refurbish their tweets. We retweeted them as if they were published the day before and sent them the smartphones of their (past) dreams, creating the biggest online influencer campaign ever, for free, without the influencers even knowing it.
Describe the strategy (20% of vote)
We gathered data from twitter, analysing the most powerful twitter accounts in terms of audience, pertinence, representation and earned media potential influence. We then crossed all the data extracted from these accounts, representing over 500 000 tweets, with the name of the refurbished products we have available for the American market. It led us to three hundred old tweets, that had previously mentioned the products we are selling today, which we then“refurbished”. By refurbishing these tweets and maximising interactions, we made them go up in the twitter timeline of the followers of the celebrities we targeted. We then put them on our twitter timeline and show cased the whole initiative through a silly video presentation, relayed on our social media platforms and spread online through influencers, journalists, and PR kits.
Describe the execution (20% of vote)
For weeks, we searched on twitter for old forgotten tweets from American superstars that talked about our products. We collected them, wrote witty and silly answers as if they had just been posted, and retweeted them on our twitter account in one day, creating the first twitter account entirely made out of superstar tweets. We also printed the tweets on paper as a pattern to wrap up the products they had wanted so many years ago and sent it to them. We explained the whole thinking and mechanism behind our activation and let journalists, media, fans of the stars and American social networks users notice what we did through word of mouth. The whole thing was made totally organically on twitter, generating a lot of conversations in the USA, but also abroad, leading to huge orders on our website from American people.
List the results (30% of vote)
All of the following results were made without media investment, through a 100% organic spread of our idea. We refurbished 311 old tweets from old celebrities, including 2 POTUS (Barack Obama, Donald Trump) dozen of actors, singers, hip hop artists, novelists, TV show presenters, athletes, comic book artists, and even the founder of twitter. A jump from an average of 100 customers per day before the launch on our US website to over 26 000 orders in the first 48 hours. A global increase of 427% of orders on our website for the month following the launch of our campaign. 3 different celebrities “involved” during the campaign acknowledged the initiative online after receiving the smartphones of their (past) dreams.