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Bargain Fashion Vending Machine Puts Sweatshop Workers In the Spotlight

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BBDO & UNIT9 Berlin work with Fashion Revolution to create a clever way of raising donations

Bargain Fashion Vending Machine Puts Sweatshop Workers In the Spotlight

The vending machine standing in the middle of Alexanderplatz in Berlin is a bright popping turquoise. And it promises a real bargain, too: ‘T-Shirt only 2 Euros’. 

But no t-shirt comes out after the coin has disappeared inside the machine. Instead a video plays on a display, showing shocking scenes from textile factories, where women and children sew without a break. They are paid only 13 cents per hour in addition to working under life-threatening conditions. After 20 seconds an option appears on the display: ‘Buy or Donate’.

Consumers are faced with a decision. Do you really want to buy the t-shirt? Or would you rather donate the 2 Euros? 

The reaction was strong. “I did not know under which conditions fashion is produced. I am really shocked.” “It’s not fair for the factory workers to be paid only 13 cents per hour. It’s impossible to live on that.” “Well, now I will be more cautious of where my clothes are produced.” 

The reactions at the vending machine are unambiguous: 90 percent of the 150 people who initially wanted to buy cheap t-shirts at the machine decided against a purchase.

A video about the joint campaign from BBDO Berlin, UNIT9 Berlin and Fashion Revolution documents the unexpected intervention and the reactions to it. In addition, the film educates consumers on the shocking facts of textile production for bargain prices.


“We didn’t just want to ask whether production conditions could in theory influence a purchase, we wanted to find out how people would react, if they saw this kind of garment production with their own eyes”, said Jan Harbeck, Creative Managing Director at BBDO Berlin. The agency carried out the campaign together with Fashion Revolution in preparation of Fashion Revolution Day on April 24.

“To me, the results show just how important transparency is in the global supply chain”, says Annett Borg, Country Coordinator at Fashion Revolution Germany. “Through Fashion Revolution Day and campaigns like this one, people all over the world can show, that they do care about the inhuman working conditions in the textile industry.”

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Categories: Clothing and Fashion, Day Wear

BBDO Group Germany, Mon, 27 Apr 2015 11:35:19 GMT