New program aims serious message at GenXers using humor, social media.
The campaign is designed to create a dialogue with younger adults about the problem of litter. Using the power of social media, as well as individual interaction and other traditional advertising methods like bill boards and TV ads, KAB expects to make an impact on the lives of the next generation. “This campaign is not only attention-getting, it demands interaction and involvement,” said Matt McKenna, president and chief executive officer of Keep America Beautiful.
The new campaign is KAB’s first since the 70s, and is aimed squarely at those between the ages of 18-34. Research has shown that individuals within this age group are the most likely to litter. But surprisingly, research also shows that this group is the most likely to be influenced by an educational campaign. The campaign links littering with other undeniable — and often humorous — wrongdoings, such as eating “gas station sushi,” “texting during surgery” or giving kids “sugar at bedtime.”
At LitteringIsWrongToo.org, individuals are encouraged to “write their wrong” directly, pledge their support and add their own voice and creativity to the campaign. Visitors can share their own “wrongs,” including uploading photos and videos which KAB hopes will help generate social media buzz for the campaign. People can also take part via the campaign’s Facebook page (facebook.com/LitteringIsWrongToo) and on Twitter (twitter.com/litteriswrong) with the hashtag #litter or #litteriswrong.
The program was originally piloted in Cincinnati last year in a partnership with Keep Cincinnati Beautiful. A post-campaign survey by Opinion Research Corporation showed significant breakthrough, awareness and self-reported behavior change among the target audience.
Litter on American roadways has decreased by 61% since Iron Eyes Cody made his tearful public service announcement plea for Americans to stop littering in 1969. Still, more than 51 billion pieces of litter land on U.S. roadways each year. “Unfortunately, litter still exists and its impact on a community is more costly than ever,” said McKenna,.
Unveiled more than 40 years ago on Earth Day, “The Crying Indian” PSA is still regularly recognized as one of the most iconic and memorable campaigns of all time. But the organization felt a fresher approach was needed to reach younger Americans who regularly use social media.
“Littering isn’t top-of-mind for most people. We need to first get people talking and, in the process, begin establishing the social norm that littering is a socially unacceptable behavior.”