Litter Awareness and Prevention

Litter Awareness and Prevention

People_Start_Pollution_-_1971_AdIn the spirit of Keep America Beautiful’s long and successful history of anti-litter public service announcements such as the iconic “crying Indian” campaign launched on Earth Day 1971, Keep Oakland Beautiful has recently begun placing a greater focus on the power of advertising here in Oakland in support of litter awareness and prevention, and in particular to address a serious problem our city faces with illegal dumping.


Thanks to the support of Campbell Ewald, one of the premier marketing communications agencies in the U.S., a “progressive billboard” went up in West Oakland promoting Keep Oakland Beautiful’s anti-litter message. The first phase featured a billboard full of trash, capturing the attention and curiosity of viewers. Over a period of weeks, the size of the “trash pile” diminished, and the billboard became progressively “cleaner,” greener, and more beautiful (see images here). The billboard was placed in a neighborhood where illegal dumping is common, and where, with help of community partners including EBALDC and their residents at the California Hotel, Keep Oakland Beautiful conducted its 2011 Great American Cleanup event. The placement of the billboard at this site helped reinforce the value of local community engagement such as that shown at the California Hotel neighborhood cleanup.

An adjunct PSA video called “Couch” about illegal dumping was produced by Campbell Ewald and placed over local airwaves in 2012.


Building on the “Couch” concept, Campbell Ewald also created a series of edgy posters for Keep Oakland Beautiful and placed them at bus shelters in a nearby area of West Oakland. The campaign, called “Litter is Bad,” paints litter as a sinister and despicable character. It is meant to be shocking, even outrageous, but ultimately compelling, intended to inspire positive action.


Also in 2012, with the help of a Keep America Beautiful Cigarette Litter Prevention Program (CLPP) grant, Keep Oakland Beautiful lent support to the anti-litter efforts of a dedicated neighborhood group in Oakland’s historic Dimond District. The group, called Keep Dimond Clean, used the grant funds and program materials to place freestanding permanent cigarette butt containers in high-traffic public areas near bus stops, and wall-mounted containers at neighborhood bars and cafes that see heavy cigarette smoking patterns. They also used the funds for the creation of clever, highly visible and attractive banners, posters, table tents and other materials urging smokers to properly dispose of their cigarette butts. See photos of the containers and visual materials here, created by Queridomundo Design.

We’re proud of the advances we’ve made in promoting our message to a broader audience in Oakland and beyond. Visit our Facebook page and give us your feedback.