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The holiday shopping season will soon be upon us and Which?, the UK’s consumer champion, has unveiled a clever outdoor campaign to highlight the impact impulsive purchases can have on our planet and our wallets.

The eye-catching neon billboards, executed by indie creative agency St Lukes, reveal the hidden dangers of the ‘Buy now, pay later’ mentality.

Upon first viewing, the billboards communicate typical sales messages that consumers are familiar with on the run-up to Black Friday, but once illuminated an unexpected additional sentence gives the campaign a new angle – to shop smarter.

In a stark twist, ‘Buy now pay later’ becomes ‘Buy now but our planet doesn’t have to pay later’; ‘Bargain bin’ turns into ‘Find a bargain that doesn’t end up in your bin’; and ‘Super savings’ becomes ‘Superficial savings.’

“When the sale season comes, brands often try to whip consumers up into a frenzy, telling them to buy now or miss out.  But those short-term bargains often turn out to be long-term duds, obsolete or buried in landfill,” noted Richard Denney, executive creative director at St Luke’s. “Our striking campaign turns the conventions of sale advertising on its head, challenging consumers to stop and think.”

Being more considered with your purchases and not being lured by flashy not-to-be-missed sales is the premise of the campaign, with Which? positioning itself as the go-to consumer guide as well as a destination for reviews and comparisons.

“From Black Friday through to the January sales, we are all bombarded with high-pressure, time-sensitive sales messages,” said Neil Caldicott, audience, brand and communications director at Which?.

“We believe it’s important to arm shoppers with the necessary information to help them to find the best deals and shop smarter for the best products for their particular needs, rather than being panicked into a purchase that they might regret.”

Research conducted by Which? recently found that an increasing amount of retailers are promoting a buy now pay later (BNPL) scheme on their websites, but sometimes fail to give accurate information on late fee charges or provide accurate information about what the process entails.