Dynamic Marketing Communiqué

Fashionably revolutionary! How this organization educated consumers about the REAL COST of cheap clothes [Fridays: Gorillas of Guerrilla Marketing]

September 17, 2021

When it comes to fashion, a lot of people are eager to look stylish. However, not everyone can afford to spend a lot of money on clothes. 

… that’s why some hunt for bargains during sales. 

What if you pass by a vending machine that sells fashionable T-shirts at a cheap price? 

You probably would take the opportunity to buy a few of those shirts!

On April 24, 2015, European non-profit organization Fashion Revolution created a social experiment in Berlin, Germany with the hope to raise awareness about the actual cost of buying clothes at a cheap price. 

The social experiment was called… 

The “2-Euro T-Shirt Vending Machine!” 

(Side Note: April 24 is known as the Fashion Revolution Day, which commemorates the lives of over 1,000 casualties of the Rana Plaza textile factory collapse in Bangladesh in 2013.) 

With the help of creative agency BBDO Berlin and production studio Unit9, Fashion Revolution installed a bright turquoise vending machine at the center of the Alexanderplatz Plaza in Berlin. 

The machine dispensed T-shirts for only EUR 2, which is equivalent to USD 2.37. This grabbed the attention of many passersby, especially those who wanted to buy fashionable clothes at a low price. 

However, consumers got more than what they originally expected… 

Once they inserted a 2-euro coin, the installed monitor in the vending machine showed powerful films exposing the horrible labor conditions of many textile workers around the world. Some stories even showcased women and children working for 16 hours a day for a minimal pay of 13 euro cents per hour. 

Imagine how overworked and underpaid these people are. That’s terrible! 

After watching these short films, a lot of consumers weren’t so happy about the bargain anymore and when the vending machine flashed the question, 

“Do you still want to buy this 2-€ T-shirt?” 

… many shoppers chose to donate that small amount of money instead of pushing through with their purchases. Even if they walked away without a T-shirt on hand, they felt satisfied knowing their donation could go a long way. 

Should a buyer choose not to donate, that was the only time when the vending machine dispensed a shirt. 

A hidden camera was installed on top of the vending machine to film the whole social experiment. Fashion Revolution uploaded the campaign video on YouTube on the same day, April 24, 2015. 

Was Fashion Revolution’s “2-Euro T-shirt Vending Machine” effective? 

According to Unit9’s report, the project was a success in terms of innovation and social responsibility. About 90% of those who initially wanted to buy a T-shirt from the vending machine decided against the purchase and donated the money instead. 

Here are other results of the social experiment: 

  • In just 5 days, the “2-Euro T-shirt Vending Machine” YouTube video garnered: 
  • More than 4 million YouTube views.
  • Over 40,000 Facebook shares with the caption, “#WhoMadeMyClothes?” 
  • 25 million social media impressions.
  • The campaign gained more than 100 mentions on different websites, including Business Insider, The Independent, Creativity Online, The Huffington Post, Daily Mail, and Cosmopolitan. 
  • The “2-Euro T-shirt Vending Machine” earned news coverage from various media companies such as SWR 3, TeleCinco, ARD German TV, RTL, and FranceTélévisions. 

Lastly, Fashion Revolution received various awards such as Bronze at the Cannes Lions Awards, Bronze at the Clio Awards, Bronze at the London International Award, Gold at the Lovie Awards, and a European Excellence Award―all in 2015! 

These results show that Fashion Revolution was able to effectively provide eye-opening insights into the real cost of cheap clothing. 

– – –

“People care when they know.” 

This was the core of Fashion Revolution’s message when they created the “2-Euro T-shirt Vending Machine” social experiment. 

The organization believed that the more people knew about the unjust working conditions of some people in the clothing industry, the more they would be able to help spread the word to help these workers. 

… and the more they would be able to start a “fashion revolution.” 

By combining this message with interactive technology and an irresistible call-to-action, Fashion Revolution opened public dialogs to educate a lot of consumers about the often unrecognized efforts of textile factory workers. 

A powerful advocacy, right? 

Just like Fashion Revolution, you can also use your brand’s products or services for a good cause! It doesn’t have to be a globally known issue; it can be just a small concern in your community that you think your brand can help address. 

Remember to be genuine about sharing your message of wanting to help. This is so that your target market will not think of your brand as simply using an important issue for your own benefit. 

Once you manage to deliver your message in a powerful and moving way, and consumers sense the authenticity of your campaign, they will be naturally inclined to act on your call-to-action. 

This will also contribute to a boost in positive impressions about your business! 

Are you ready to create your own revolution? 

Position your business as a brand that cares (not just for your profit but also for your target market and society) through your own socially-driven guerrilla marketing campaigns! 

About The Dynamic Marketing Communiqué’s
“Fridays: Gorillas of Guerrilla Marketing”

Jay Conrad Levinson (1984) said that Guerrilla Marketing “works because it’s simple to appreciate, easy to execute, and inexpensive.”

Guerrilla Marketing is unconventional.

Looking beyond the traditional ways of advertising, marketers, and advertisers need to spice things up in order for their brand to have campaigns that not only make an impact but also stick to their target market’s mind.

Guerrilla Marketing usually aims to have direct contact with consumers.

This type of direct contact should spark an emotional reaction that leads to consumers effectively remembering the brand.

It’s about making a big impression and making that impression last a long time (if not forever).

Guerrilla Marketing can be inexpensive.

The effect of this is being able to create a buzz around the brand, and the strategy used to market it. Almost everything is passed around through word-of-mouth.

Word-of-mouth is one of the greatest outcomes and it usually doesn’t cost anything.

This is every business’ or brand’s dream!

Every Friday, we publish tips, examples, and other useful content on unconventional ways of marketing and promotion.

Learn more about how to grab your target market’s attention and make an amazing first and lasting impression without having to spend a lot of money.

Businesses don’t really need to spend much for a guerrilla campaign. You do not need a big budget to be successful. You just need creativity and a good imagination.

Hope you’ve found this week’s guerrilla marketing insight interesting and helpful.

Stay tuned for next Friday’s Gorillas of Guerrilla!


Kyle Yu
Head of Marketing
Valens Dynamic Marketing Capabilities
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