As all summer sport tournaments were cancelled, the sudden absence hit fans hard, leaving them with none of their usual entertainment. At the same time, professional athletes were desperate for something to do. The Danish Return System saw an opportunity to help both while engaging them in the most important discipline of all: recycling. For several weeks, The Recycling Games took the place of regular sports programmes, becoming much-needed live entertaining content that turned recycling into the most exciting sport of the summer.
In Denmark, we have a return system that allows you to get a small refund when returning empty bottles and cans at recycling machines across the country. This is handled by The Danish Return System, a non-profit with the goal of recycling all bottles and cans, thus saving the environment from the production of new ones and unnecessary CO2 emissions. But some Danes find it boring and time-consuming to return their bottles and cans, which results in 10% of all bottles and cans not getting recycled each year. On top of that, the Danes’ overall intention to live sustainably, including recycling, fell from 58% to 43% as the coronavirus swept the world. So in the middle of a pandemic, how could The Danish Return System still engage the Danes in recycling their bottles and cans?
Describe The Creative Idea
As sports fans and athletes alike were facing a cancelled summer, we saw an opportunity to engage them both in the most important discipline of the century: recycling. ‘The Recycling Games’ was a live-streamed sports championship that brought together the best athletes in the country in the fight to become the best recycler in Denmark. The diverse group of athletes competed in one-on-one matches at recycling machines until one winner was found. Every match was commentated by the legendary danish commentator, Flemming Toft, and streamed to Facebook Live. For several weeks, The Recycling Games took the place of regular sports programmes, becoming much-needed entertaining content that turned recycling into the most exciting sport of the summer.
Describe The Strategy
The strategy for this campaign was very much influenced by the situation that many Danes found themselves in: lacking their usual entertainment and being preoccupied by a global situation that took their focus away from another pressing issue: sustainability. So, we saw an unlikely opportunity to create a series of content that could entertain and engage the Danes, while reminding them of the importance of returning their bottles and cans - and at the same time fulfill their need for sport.
Describe The Execution
The Recycling Games was broadcast on FB live on Wednesdays and Sundays (when the Danish football league usually plays) and afterwards shared across The Danish Return System’s social channels. This year, The European Football Championship (EURO2020) was going to be played in Denmark for the first time, but due to the pandemic, it was cancelled. This really hit the Danish sport fans hard. So, to give the Danes some much needed sport, the campaign launched the same day Denmark was supposed to play their first match of EURO2020, while the finale was held the day of the cancelled EURO finale. The competition was promoted on national TV and across social media. The athletes themselves also shared their matches, exposing the campaign to a broader audience that The Danish Return System wouldn’t otherwise have reached.
Describe The Outcome
The Recycling Games successfully entertained the Danes with an engagement rate 800% higher than average, turning recycling into the most exciting sport of the summer. 76% of the Danish population was reached on social media throughout the tournament. Following the campaign there was a 23% increase in brand awareness.