Darius recently helped ‘do his bit’ by litter picking where he lives as part of the @GreatBritishSpringClean, but didn’t expect it to be the inspiration for some words on the power of successful communication campaigns.
There I was in the rain, crouched down between a thorny shrub and rose bush, picking up someone’s kebab from the night before.
Ringing in my ears I could hear my dear mother’s voice complaining about me not emptying my trouser pockets of rubbish before putting them into the washing basket.
Hard-hitting adverts urging us to Keep Britain Tidy - or the hedgehogs would be done for - had worked their magic on me.
If we think back to just a few years ago the government used to spend vast sums of cash creating hard-hitting Public Information Campaign Adverts. ‘Stranger Danger’, ‘Kite flying near electricity pylons’ and not dropping litter were strong messages.
Can you remember your school teacher wheeling out a television and VCR trolley, weighing as much as a car, and padlocked down to prevent even the most audacious* thief. We were forced to watch something like this:
Things are somewhat different now though….
In a multi-channel environment where you can skip adverts, or by paying monthly subscriptions to avoid them altogether the challenge for PR, communications and advertising professionals isn’t an easy one.
The explosion of Social Media only adds to an already crowded media landscape where we as consumers are overloaded with information and choice. It’s possible for PR and communications campaigns to be delivered to captive audiences (such as this ‘don’t be a gimp’ anti-Litter advert screened in Cinemas in 2009:
....but when you don’t have a captive audience making content people won’t click away from is much harder.
Keep Britain Tidy y’all.
A 1970s Public Information Film on Litter:
A 1980s Public Information Film on Litter:
*At those prices perhaps 1980s Video Cassette Recorders (VCRs) did really need padlocking down!