How do you get people to do good things when they already think they are? That was the problem faced by EPA, who had great brand recall from their “Hey Tosser” campaign, but little actual behaviour change. Lots of people were littering, but at the same time, there were no actual litterers. Time to hold up a mirror to our audience.

Message take out
Increase in self-reporting litterers
Campaign approval rating

We created a world where discarded litter came back and stuck itself to you if it wasn’t properly thrown in the bin, even chasing you across a whole park if you tried to run away. Reinforced by the tag “If it’s not in the bin, it’s on you”, this physically and verbally tied the responsibility of litter to its owner.

Research shows that negative, finger-wagging campaigns generate less behaviour change and that audiences find such creative approaches less engaging. By allowing us to recognise ourselves as the litterer, rather than seeing the litterer persecuted, the humorous approach gave audiences space to engage with the creative and realise they might be part of the problem… which they were.

While our initial campaign was broadly successful, the millennials segment needed to be more sticky. We took the opportunity, with the second media push, to develop an animated campaign building on the “it’s on you” narrative. Millennials can’t resist cute angry animated animals. They just can’t.

Our “Don’t Be a Tosser” campaign smashed its targets, showing that innovative, humorous approaches can get audiences on board even when something is being demanded of them. Getting the audience to realise they were the target audience, part of the problem, and therefore part of the solution, was achieved as the number of people self-identifying as litterers rose dramatically. All without having to lift and wag a single finger.

EPA
Nick Hunter
Jazz Twemlow
Reese Geronimo
Yingna Lu
Seaton Kay-Smith
Pete Adams and Clancy Gibson
Maren Smith
Christopher Walsh
Ben Marriott

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