Communicating facts & stats for refurbished phones

by Livvy Drake

I saw this Back Market advert at Swindon train station and I immediately thought AND…will 68,400 litres of water inspire people to buy a refurbished phone?

I was prompted again to reflect on this advert again when I ran an Introduction to Behaviour Change session. I was covering off some key points from behavioural economics that should be considered for ethical products and solutions like this:

Using facts and stats

Big numbers are hard to commute and often seem meaningless. Some visualisation of actual pints may have been easier, and what that water could be used for instead- some context.

I am probably their target market, an eco worrier who buys second-hand phones on eBay but I wasn’t convinced, by the water analogy.


Sure a refurbished phone saves a lot of water BUT how long will it last, how reliable is it, what are the guarantees?

The Back Market website addresses some of these concerns with social proof through testimonials from it’s great Trustpilot reviews. I’d want to see a small reference to this on an an advert too. Also how many phones do they sell a year, more social proof that lots of people are doing this.

In doing more research I found they had run these adverts in France.

Perceived benefit

Ok it saves water but that’s not why people by phones. Saving money is talked about a lot on the site and the carbon reductions. But I know that even eco people (well me for sure) get a new phone they often want to get the latest model with all the new whizzy features… I’d want to know more about what models and items they are offering. Again I found they have run similar adverts in France.

Perceived Effort

Going into a phone shop and picking the latest model is easy. Scrolling around looking for a new phone is harder (I know I do this when I buy second-hand ones off ebay). I’d like to know how easy it is to use their site and their service if there is a problem with a phone.

What would you want to see on this advert?

Clearly, this advert is designed to be attention-grabbing for an eco-consumer audience and is part of a wider campaign to highlight the eco-credentials of the refurbished phone service. However as a colleague on Twitter pointed out, eco-consumers have experienced the challenges of Fairphones so may be cautious. And for a wider audience why saving water is important may not be on their radar yet.

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