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Digital dusting

by Contagious I/O

This story originally appeared on Contagious I/O, our customisable research platform featuring the world’s most innovative, creative and effective ad campaigns and marketing ideas

Vacuum brand promotes new model with a tool for cleaning up email inboxes

According to Swedish appliance brand Electrolux, a single email is estimated to generate four grams of environmentally unfriendly carbon dioxide during its lifetime - yet most people are unaware of the impact, leaving old messages to gather digital dust. So Electrolux, along with Prime, Stockholm, is attempting to change this, creating a tool to help people spring clean their email inboxes.

The Word Wide Vac service allows users to scan their messages for unnecessary messages, and then calculate how much CO2 will be saved by deleting them. The tool, which is only compatible with Gmail, has three settings: small, medium, or large. Users select based on the kinds of inbox clutter they want to get rid of. Small, for example, just identifies and deletes social and promotional emails. Large, on the other hand, clears all of those emails plus any messages over three years old.

The campaign was created to coincide with the brand’s newest product, eco-friendly vacuum cleaner the UltraFlex.


Contagious Insight / 

Digital product demo / It’s not the first time a cleaning brand has showcased its product benefit through digital means. Ajax’s Social Wipe campaign, for example, helped users get rid of Facebook spam and Twitter bots for a more streamlined social media experience. And Unilever cleaning brand Cif created Cif the Web, an iPad app that enabled kids to surf the web without the risk of encountering inappropriate content.

All three examples exemplify the brand’s primary purpose in an interesting, engaging way - a difficult task in an unsexy sector. And, as we explored in our Product Demo Evolved trend, the web is a powerful tool to showcase key benefits of a product in a fun and memorable way, hopefully helping nudge users toward picking their brand when they need to clean up actual footprints rather than just their digital ones.

Impact of the internet / The internet is leaving a huge energy trail, with the ever-increasing reliance on cloud computing creating a hefty amount of harmful emissions. Greenpeace recently unveiled a report that looked into the impact of IT on the environment, calculating that if you aggregated the electricity used by data centers and networks that connect to our devices, it would rank as the sixth biggest energy user among all countries. With analysts projecting that data use will triple between 2012 and 2017 to an astounding 121 exabytes, or about 121 billion gigabytes, it’s an issue that’s only going to grow in importance.

Yet most users have little awareness of the power that storing all of this information takes. And, with other environmentally friendly web solutions, such as energy-saving search Blackle, failing to take off on a mass scale, it’s a smart move for a major brand like Electrolux to bring it to people’s attention.

It’s not the first time that the brand has demonstrated a commitment to keeping the planet green. Back in 2011, it launched the Vac from the Sea campaign, helping to draw attention to underwater pollution. The brand trawled the ocean for discarded plastic, using it to build six cleaners representing six different ocean territories. It showed the brand dipping its toes into a broader positioning, firmly establishing itself as dedicated to cleaning more than just living room carpets.

Both campaigns apply the product’s purpose to clean to a real-world situation, subtly emphasising the power of its products. With the brand pledging to cut its own CO2 emissions in half by 2020, it mirrors a broader dedication to the environment, too.

Bigger brand thinking / Undoubtedly, it’s an excellent idea for the broader Electrolux brand, helping to show its commitment to cleaning up, regardless of whether that happens in the home, ocean, or virtually. However, we can’t help but feel the actual vacuum cleaner being launched gets a little lost in the campaign, especially when there’s so few references to its environmental credentials. Next time, a tighter link to the product actually being sold might help to boost sales as well as brand appreciation.

World Wide Vac Tool


This story originally appeared on Contagious I/O. Contagious I/O is our bespoke trends, inspiration, insight and analysis service, providing daily innovative marketing intelligence across a comprehensive range of sectors to brands and agencies across the world. For more information about Contagious I/O contact