Wasty Not, Want Not: Coach Brand Drops Sustainability-Minded Holiday Ad

Lola Tung co-stars with a bedazzled, eco-friendly character named Wasty

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The costumed character’s name is Wasty, and he shuffles around town gathering up garbage. Sometimes, he peeks through windows to watch people’s wasteful household habits.

If that doesn’t immediately stir the holiday spirit, stick with it long enough to learn that Wasty’s not an eco-stalker. He’s an upcycler who turns trash into lovely luxury gifts that become must-haves, not throw-aways.

The oddball character—with a suit made of faux fur, leather bits, fabric swatches and other seemingly discarded bric-a-brac—shares the spotlight with actor Lola Tung for a just-dropped seasonal campaign from Coachtopia, a sustainability-minded offshoot of Coach.

The nascent brand, which debuted earlier this year, aims to make a point about overconsumption with its 90-second spot called “A Wasty Holiday” by “focusing not only on the joy of the season but also its underlying problems,” according to Joon Silverstein, Coach’s senior vp of global marketing, creative and sustainability and head of Coachtopia.

It’s not exactly Patagonia’s iconic “Don’t Buy This Jacket” ad, but it may be a modern-day spiritual cousin in denouncing mindless consumerism.

Speaking to Gen Z

Coachtopia’s video, with a storybook setup and snowy backdrop, charts the path of both the oversized character and his soon-to-be human friend who share the same environmental concerns. The work comes from director Jason Yan Francis and Stockholm-based creative shop APE_CC. 

The brand is targeting Gen Z with the campaign, per Silverstein, because “we know they keenly feel the conflict between their love of fashion and the impacts of the industry, and that this tension is especially pronounced for them during the holidays.”

Coachtopia ambassador and actor Lola Tung stars alongside costumed character Wasty in the brand’s holiday ad.

There’s data to bolster the approach: Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, Americans toss between 25% to 43% more trash than during the rest of the year, per the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.

Meantime, roughly 138 million consumers—52% of the U.S. population—reported receiving at least one unwanted gift. And more than $8 billion is spent on those dud presents nationally, with nearly 10% of the items ending up in landfills, according to Finder research.

‘Circular’ thinking

Tung, known for her role in Prime Video’s hit series The Summer I Turned Pretty, already has an existing relationship with Coachtopia as an ambassador. In bringing the brand’s “origin story to life,” Tung said the spot “reminds us of the beautiful things we can create with waste when we think in a more circular way.”

The spot features a number of Coachtopia products made from “upcrafted,” recycled or recyclable materials. 

The anti-waste theme will extend through the marketing, where the brand will “replace extreme promotions, flash sales and FOMO-focused messaging” with gift guides that detail Coachtopia’s carbon footprint reductions versus comparable styles made with new materials.

The brand continues to take returns at its retail outlets, in exchange for store credit, so unwanted items can be remade and resold.

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