Arco CE Failings header created by Born and Raised

It’s rare for a brief to have lives riding on its success. As this one did, we can’t underestimate its importance. The campaign was so successful it is helping to shape the Health and Safety (H&S) industry, and even picked up a Gold Award at the recent B2B Marketing Awards.

Arco’s discovery of CE failings

H&S managers rely on CE markings as their guarantee of compliance and safety in use. But rigorous due diligence and testing by Arco’s independent product assurance lab had discovered worrying numbers of CE marked products were failing standard tests.

Unscrupulous manufacturers were exploiting a loophole in the CE mark process to modify products without informing customers or re-testing to ensure ongoing compliance.

As a result, H&S managers were unwittingly specifying CE marked products and putting thousands of workers at risk of serious injury, illness or even death. A staggering 40% of CE marked non-metallic safety footwear and 30% of rigger gloves failed re-testing.

From complacency to action

The challenge was how to use this information in a credible, powerful way to bring about industry change to keep workers safe, without damaging the industry’s reputation.

The solution began with a messaging workshop which identified a content path which would take H&S managers on a journey of discovery from awareness that there was a serious risk, to being informed about the issue, understanding and calculating their own level of risk and finally to take action.

A laptop featuring a campaign banner made by Born and Raised

A joined up journey of discovery

We created a series of hard-hitting banner ads and emails designed to shake our target group out of complacency and make them want to urgently know more. The banner ads drove them to a microsite. There they could view a short documentary film, featuring contributions from trusted figures from across the safety industry about the CE mark failings, and a ‘Calculate your risk factor’ questionnaire about their PPE buying assumptions.

This online diagnostic produced a personalised report, which suggested changes that they needed to make to avoid buying non-compliant PPE, and ensure they keep their people safe at work.

image created by Born and Raised that says 'you missed something in your risk assessment'

A campaign which shook the doors of Westminster

Arco’s thought leadership campaign succeeded in raising the whole issue of market surveillance and due diligence within the industry, putting it firmly at the top of business agendas. Key industry figures actively sought to be part of the documentary, and in May 2018, Emma Hardy MP drew the UK Parliament’s attention to the issue for the first time.

Andrew Griffiths, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State agreed to ask the Office for Product Safety and Standards to investigate this with Trading Standards officers. Arco was invited by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to address their members and invited them to co-produce a paper making recommendations for the shape of H&S legislation beyond Brexit.

The BSIF issued warnings to members and created its Registered Safety Supplier Scheme, while Trading Standards issued statements and a range of new guidance.

While the primary objective was to make workplaces safer the campaign also demonstrated a measurable commercial benefit to Arco.

Whilst some leading brands had taken Arco’s lead in taking steps to offer increased assurance and compliance in their product quality, key industry bodies were not taking action. By creating a movement and involving other leading figures, the industry started to care about product compliance and keeping UK workers safe. Being invited to help shape the future of Health & Safety in the UK beyond Brexit is the ultimate testament to this campaign shaking the doors of Westminster.

Lee Morton, Head of Brand and Proposition Development, Arco