Our insights __ Case studies

Check Your Drawers

Client – giffgaff


Since disrupting the category as the first SIM-Only, online-only network run by its members, giffgaff has always had mutual giving at its heart and challenged category conventions. The company remains committed to its core brand values to this day: Challenge the established way; harness the power of people; improve it.

Our brief was to raise awareness of giffgaff’s Refurbished Handset proposition on Black Friday.

The telco category has spent years telling people they need to upgrade to a new phone at least every two years, pushing people onto newer devices on tariffs they don’t need or even fully use. 94% of UK adults now own a mobile phone and the average person keeps at least two unused handsets somewhere in their home. There are 55 million ‘dead’ phones sat in our homes doing nothing. This equates to over 4,125 tons of our earth’s finite resources left sitting in homes that could be recycled and reused

  • This is not sustainable. But people have succumbed to category convention and don’t know any different. They lack awareness.

The big idea

To raise awareness of Refurbished Handsets successfully, the Havas team decided we first needed to shine a spotlight on the environmental problem with e-waste. COVID-19 disruption meant the new iPhone 12 launch had to be delayed from September, so competitors’ hopes were pinned on Black Friday to recoup lost sales. A wave of new handsets was expected to flood the market, further exacerbating the environmental problem. Black Friday was the ideal moment to challenge the status quo.

“CHECK YOUR DRAWERS!” was our single-minded media campaign idea and mission to reacquaint the nation with the contents of their drawers, checking for any old mobile phone handsets, with the ambition of starting to create a truly circular economy and help build a new and sustainable model for the industry by getting them back into circulation.

We set out three clear goals for media that harnessed the brand’s challenger values:

  1. Challenge the established way: raise awareness of the issue of e-waste by devising an anti-consumerist campaign, opposing the category and cultural conventions of Black Friday.
  2. Harness the power of people: enable people to give back, converting awareness into action.
  3. Improve it: direct people to a campaign hub and lead the circular economy for handsets.


Making it happen

Our “CHECK YOUR DRAWERS!” rallying cry needed a loud yet authentic voice. We sought a partner that shared giffgaff’s community value and selected LADbible, the perfect content partner with the scale and credibility needed to make e-waste part of wider social responsibility. Musician Manga Saint Hilare was the ideal frontman to announce our (intentionally tongue in cheek) content approach. A radically different style, flipping the typical transactional sales messaging expected at Black Friday.

A humorous hero video triggered people into checking for old phones. This was supported by five short-form videos and stories across LADbible’s Facebook, Instagram and YouTube channels that served to engage and educate people about the e-waste problem.

On Black Friday itself, we roadblocked the whole LADbible site with display ads directing people to “give back” via the ‘Check Your Drawers’ campaign hub – a hub for people to refurbish, recycle or gift their old phone for good by donating to charity.


Our “CHECK YOUR DRAWERS!” Black Friday campaign punched well above its weight in achieving our goals.

  1. We challenged the established way: giffgaff leads the category in levels of Refurbished Handset Awareness. Increasing from 11% to 14%. The “CHECK YOUR DRAWERS!” content reached 15.5m people over the Black Friday period, of which 50% (or 7.75m people) are now more motivated to recycle their handsets.
  2. We harnessed the power of people: 80% of LADBible video viewers now feel more positive about giffgaff and during the campaign period brand buzz increased by 20%.
  3. We improved it: 1,220 ‘dead’ handsets were given new life and re-circulated via the ‘Check Your Drawers’ hub. This was the environmental equivalent to preventing an estimated 8.4t of gold and 1.2t of copper ore from being mined, and 73.2t of carbon emissions were saved, equivalent to 61 return flights from London to New York.

And critically, this idea showed that doing good is good for business, as giffgaff’s refurbished handset sales also increased 15%, overtaking sales of new handsets.

  • I’m hugely proud of the campaign delivered over Black Friday. In challenging times, the activity cut through and most importantly drove action....


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Our insights

Meet some of our team

  • Ryan Kisiel
    Ryan Kisiel

    Head of Sustain

  • Sarah Bosworth
    Sarah Bosworth

    Sustainability Consultant

  • Tom Wilkins
    Tom Wilkins

    Public Affairs Director

  • Adaora Geiger
    Adaora Geiger

    Head of Transformation & Change