Origins freshens up its recycling program to boost in-store traffic

Amid growing concern about effective recycling of consumer-goods packaging, skin- care brand Origins launched an in-store cosmetic packaging recycling program.

Client: Origins (New York)
PR agency
: Syndicate (New York and LA)
Campaign
: "Return to Origins" cosmetic recycling program
Duration
: February-May 2009
Budget
: $35,000

Amid growing concern about effective recycling of consumer-goods packaging, skin- care brand Origins launched an in-store cosmetic packaging recycling program. The launch aimed to reinvigorate the brand's recycling position, which dates back to a 1990 recycling program, and drive consumers into stores, explains Trenesa Stanford-Danuser, VP, global communications for Estée Lauder's Origins and Ojon brands. "The PR opportunity far exceeded what one could do with an ad vehicle," she says.

Strategy
On April 2, during Earth Month, Origins teamed with a recycling vendor to host two-hour collections in 450-plus locations. Working with Syndicate, it aimed to build buzz through celebrity appearances at New York and LA press events.

"Our role was to create broad national awareness and get people in stores," says Nathan Ellis, Syndicate founder and president. "Celebrity partners would help spread the message."

To drive store traffic in seven key "green" locations, Origins offered recyclers a free full-size A Perfect World moisturizer. At other locations, it offered moisturizer samples and a plant-a-tree-with-purchase promotion.

Tactics
A month prior to the event, Origins began posting promo and educational content about recycling on its Facebook page. Ellis says the agency focused outreach on national print, TV, and Web outlets, as well as regional papers and calendar listings in the seven key cities.

Results
On launch day, consumers dropped off nearly 300 pounds of empty cosmetics jars. During April, Origins saw a 7% increase in sales of its A Perfect World moisturizer over the previous year, and through the promotion it planted 23,000 trees. Placements included Style.com, People, and StyleCaster.com.

Future
Stores still offer the recycling option, and Origins is planning a new awareness initiative for Earth Month in 2010.

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