BBDO Berlin's vending machine design for Fashion Revolution Day.

One of the more interesting Red Dot Grand Prix winners at Saturday’s awards ceremony in Berlin went to BBDO Germany for its “The 2 Euro T-shirt — A Social Experiment.”

For “The 2 Euro T-shirt,” BBDO Berlin partnered with Fashion Revolution Day, an annual event designed to pay tribute to the 1,129 lives lost in Bangladesh’s 2013 Rana Plaza building collapse, and to encourage consumers to take action against the cheap apparel supply chain.

For one day, a bright turquoise vending machine advertising 2 euro T-shirts was placed in the middle of Berlin’s Alexanderplatz, one of the city’s busiest shopping streets with big-name retailers like Primark. The advertising agency wanted to see if people would still buy a dirt-cheap shirt if they were aware of the unfavorable manufacturing conditions under which it was made, according to Michael Schachtner, executive creative director of BBDO Berlin. Once they paid 2 euros, or about $2.20 at current exchange, they had to watch a video about those conditions, and then decide whether to buy the shirt or donate the money to the Fashion Revolution.

The idea stemmed from another brainstorming session that Schactner and his team had come up with while working on a non-fashion project. After learning about Fashion Revolution, he said he decided to contact the group, presented the concept and they agreed to realize it. Their intention was also to rouse shoppers from “actually not thinking at all when they are in a shopping mood or when they find a bargain.”

“It wasn’t really planned. It came out of good ideas that were on the table and then making them better.” said Schachtner, who also works on advertising for Daimler AG’s Smart cars. “At first, you only see the sign and think, ‘Amazing — only 2 euros. Two euros won’t hurt me. Why not buy it?’ People don’t really think further than that.’

“Our goal was first to make people think, ‘Do I need it?’ and ‘How can it be so cheap?’ Then if they decide they really need a T-shirt, maybe they will actually ask how it is manufactured.” Schachtner said.

Regarding the timing of this social experiment, Schachtner said, “There is no right time. Why should we have waited? Every cause needs action right now unless your idea is related to a certain event or time of year. But why wait for anything?

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