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Sunday, March 18, 2012

Lighten Up : Be Heard, Be Effective

Hysterical - Purrfect - Effective!  The producers of The Adventures of Recycle Kitty hit a home run with their 2.38 minute hilarious video.  Combining creativity, wit and humor the video makes a profound statement about the proper placement of plastic bottles in recycling bins.  Here is the video along with the formal copy from it's introduction:

 Millie McMaster looks like just an ordinary house cat, but few people know her secret -- she's really an eco-friendly kitty who is dedicated to rescuing empty plastic bottles from garbage bins and putting them in recycling bins. In this video Millie McMaster transforms into Recycle Kitty who proves what every human being on earth should already know: If a kitty cat can recycle, you can too! Always recycle and encourage others to do so. 

At the end, the video acknowledged a cat may have been bribed yet not harmed in the video production.  Millie gives a Paws Up for More Treats!

The Bin Trio:  Tom with
Tony & Tiny attached
The Recycle Kitty is perfect for general education and may easily develop a life of its own with children and adult fans.  

On a more specific note, the Georgia Institute of Technology integrates creativity into their recycling program tools.  When implementing desk side recycling in select administrative offices, Manager of Solid Waste Management & Recycling Cindy Jackson gave clever names to the three-bin containers given to the pilot group.  Tom is the large bin designated for office paper, Tony is the mid size bin for aluminum & plastic and Tiny is the small black bin for any remaining trash.

The Lorax by Dr. Seuss
recycling area
Engaging and educating the staff was critical to success.  By personalizing the containers, the staff had an easier time remembering the material designation for each bin. Office personnel are required to take their three-bin containers to a common area for emptying into totes collected once per week by the recycling team. Adding fun to the new office recycling program dissolved most of the resistance to new procedures.

On a broader level, one of GA Tech's LEED-certified buildings has large recycling areas built into the floor plan. WOW was the immediate reaction to the visuals created in several of these areas. Along with Dr. Seuss, GA Tech understands creative, colorful communication is a powerful vehicle for effective action.

one of Jake's memorable billboards 
Jake Wilson, Keep Mecklenburg County Beautiful Executive Director, used his British wit when developing the billboard campaign to encourage smokers to use large public urns for their ashes and butts, rather than the street.   

Swat-A-Litterbug is another successful program developed by Jake.  With a call-in feature where citizens may report a vehicle license tag when an occupant is seen throwing trash (cigarette butts/ashes and fast food/beverages, the most common offense) on Charlotte streets.  For an overview of Jake's creative approach to effective programs, read the IMPACT Blog post, A Man of Controversy, A Man of Action.
Over the past years, environmentalists have gotten serious in communicating their message, so serious their voice often goes unheard.  It is time to lighten-up with the same message and use wit | humor to broadcast in a manner the audience will hear, embrace and take intended action.