Trewin Restorick, CEO and co-founder of Hubbub looks at their recent work to encourage more people to make the switch to reusable coffee cups.
Every year, 3 billion hot drink cups are used in the UK and it’s estimated that less than 5% are sold to people bringing a reusable cup. This relatively low percentage is despite the fact that many coffee chains provide a 25p discount for coffee bought in a reusable.
For all the chatter inspired by the BBC’s Blue Planet, it seems people are reluctant to make even a fairly simple change away from disposable products.
Hubbub undertook research to discover why the change is not happening. There seems to be a desire to make the shift, with public polling revealing that over two-thirds of people have their own reusable coffee cup, but only 1 in 6 say they remember to use them every time they buy a hot drink.
The most common reason for this gap in reusable cup usage is consumers forgetting to take their cup with them when they leave home in the morning
The most common reason for this gap in reusable cup usage is consumers forgetting to take their cup with them when they leave home in the morning. The number of people using reusable cups drops off during the day as people feel uncomfortable asking retail outlets to wash their cups and refill them.
People also felt awkward asking coffee chain staff to fill reusable cups – particularly if that cup was from a competitive brand.
Based on this insight, Hubbub decided to run an experimental campaign in Manchester to see if nudge communications could change behaviour. The campaign was funded by the 5p voluntary charge that Starbucks has added to the cost of coffee bought in disposable cups.
Our first challenge was how to remind people to take their disposable coffee cups with them during their busy morning routines when a mass of other things, such as how to get children to school on time, fight for attention.
Our solution was to create a short ‘earworm’ radio jingle encouraging people to grab their cup before heading out. The jingle was devised by Huey Morgan of Fun Lovin Criminals and 6 Music fame. It must be the first time a radio jingle has been used to encourage reusable cups.
The second challenge was how to make people feel more comfortable about taking a reusable cup into coffee stores. To deliver this objective Hubbub persuaded Caffe Nero, Costa, Greggs, McDonald’s, Starbucks and independent stores across Manchester to share the same ‘Bring your Cup’ branded messaging in outlets.
The behaviour change campaign was built around consumer insight with specific interventions created to address each barrier to action
This provided city-wide communication illustrating the collaborative nature of the campaign.
The final challenge was how to demonstrate to people that it should become the social norm to drink from a reusable cup. Theoretically this would nudge people who were wavering to change their behaviour. To deliver on this objective digital advertising was bought through-out the city centre reinforcing the reuse message.
The behaviour change campaign was built around consumer insight with specific interventions created to address each barrier to action. The campaign is being independently monitored and Hubbub will be openly sharing results.
This will be the first of a number of campaigns that Hubbub will deliver over the coming year with the objective of doubling the take-ip of reusable cups.