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Newsletter: #975: The “Upcycled” Issue

[Welcome back to the Damn, I Wish I’d Thought of That! newsletter. This is text of the great issue all of our email subscribers just received. Sign yourself up using the handy form on the right.]

Recycling stuff for your products isn’t just for green or eco-friendly businesses — it can also be a great marketing strategy. Why? Because upcycled stuff sometimes has a more remarkable story behind it than brand new stuff.

Here’s how three different businesses are reusing things to make something worth talking about:

1. Give them a story to tell
2. Apologize creatively
3. Make it more fun
4. Check it out: Ball Droppings

1. Give them a story to tell

Vinyluse wooden bowtie

Photo thanks to Vinyluse.

It’s not every day that someone wears a wooden bowtie — so these bowties from Vinyluse’s Wood Papillion collection are already conversation pieces. But what makes them stand out is the story behind them: Each bowtie is made from wooden furniture scraps. Now, their customers have a story to tell their friends about how their bowtie is made from an old chair or wooden flooring. That’s the kind of product feature that’s unique and sticks in someone’s memory.

The lesson: Anything you recycle has a history and a unique story behind it. Are you telling your customers about it so they can tell everyone else?

2. Apologize creatively

Lululemon's apology pants tag

Photo thanks to Business Insider.

When Lululemon recalled their infamously sheer yoga pants, they decided to make the most of the blunder by upcycling them into a “Second Chance Pant.” The tags on these new pants explain how the previously sheer ones were made to reinforce them saying, “This is what celebrating failure looks like!”

The lesson: It’s never fun to have to take back messed up products — but if you can reuse those to make something better while telling your customers you’re sorry, it’s something worth talking about.

Learn more: Business Insider

3. Make it more fun

Glove Love

Photo thanks to Glove Love.

There’s nothing fun about losing a glove and facing the uneasy decision to throw a perfectly good one away. Glove Love is trying to make these unfortunate situations into something good for the environment by matching these single gloves to other left-behind ones. The fun part: They create a story of each pairs’ matchmaking and include it with the gloves. That turns a weird, mismatched pair of gloves into something their new owners can talk about.

The lesson: It would be easy to make a message about consuming less into something heavy and guilt-trippy. Glove Love chose to get the word out about “Doing the Green Thing” in a much more lighthearted way.

Learn more: Glove Love

4. Check it out: Ball Droppings

Ball Droppings game

Photo thanks to Ball Droppings.

This Chrome experiment by jtnimoy has pretty simple instructions: Turn up your sound, draw lines, and enjoy the music. As each white ball dropped from the top of the screen bounces off a line, it will make a different sound.

Check it out: Ball Dropping

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