Back Market Sends Up Apple In 'New' Activations

Apple just debuted iPhone 15 — which kicked off refurbisher Back Market’s response: “Let Them Buy New” campaign. The satiric work sends up Big Tech’s obsession with creating new products and posits refurbished devices as eco-friendly and affordable.

Created by the Gus agency, “Let Them Buy New” reframes the idea of tech innovation, promoting a shift in both economic and eco-terms. It claims Apple and the tech industry at large have contributed to the 50 million metric tons of e-waste produced each year, which accounts for 70% of toxic waste.

The “Let Them Buy New” campaign includes global TV spots, shot with Mike Diva of “SNL,” that parody the tech industry’s lifestyle cliches, while encouraging consumers to break from the cycle. 



The campaign’s subversive activation mocks the industry's "leak culture" — Apple’s iPhone 15 keynote on Sept. 12. Days beforehand, Back Market teased the “R” — a top-secret, new phone. Confidential product documents were “left by mistake” in high-traffic areas around Cupertino, while tech and TikTok influencers received locked boxes containing the “R” prototype. Billboards were posted in New York City, Paris, Madrid, and London.

On Sept. 12, the boxes unlocked and the outdoor ads revealed the truth: the prototype was a refurbished iPhone and the “R” stood for refurbished all along.

DCX Growth Accelerator and Superbloom helped produce the work.

This year, the "Let Them Buy New" TV campaign airs in the U.S., U.K., France, Spain, Germany. In 2024, the TV campaign will air in U.S, U.K., France, Spain, Germany, Japan, and Australia, with potential extension to Portugal and South Korea.

“The problem of e-waste — now the fastest growing form of waste in the world — is one we can all directly affect by choosing circularity,” said Daniel Brill, executive creative director, Back Market. “But we also know you’re not going to convince anyone by wagging a finger. So every part of the creative is infused with personality, eccentricity and galaxy-brain level subversion, or what we call at Back Market, ‘sabotage.’”

"In America, there's a lack of brand awareness. Interestingly, the cultural inclination toward buying used cars, clothes and vintage furniture is evident. So why not consider refurbished tech?" said Spencer LaVallee, co-founder-creative director at Gus.

Launched in 2014, Back Market produces professionally refurbished electronic devices and appliances to customers in 17 countries.

According to the company, a refurbished phone can prevent up to 92% fewer CO2 emissions, 89% less e-waste, and 86% and 91% less usage of water and raw materials, respectively.

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