The Face of Litter

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The face of litter is not just any face. It’s yours. OK, it’s not yours. It’s actually some Chinese guy’s. Maybe. Probably.

YouTube screen grab via Ecozine

YouTube screen grab via Ecozine

The Face of Litter is the name of a new environmental awareness campaign in Hong Kong that aims to publically shame litterers into cleaning up their act.

Littering in Hong Kong is a full-blown epidemic, and the city’s bursting, bustling population sees freely scattering their garbage as a shameless, anonymous part of daily life. According to Ecozine’s website, “a report released last week by the Hong Kong Government … stated that 95 per cent of marine refuse in Hong Kong comes from local sources, with over 80 per cent originating from land-based activities. Additionally, more than 70 per cent comprises plastic and foam plastic items.”

But what if citizens were held accountable for their grossness? What if littering wasn’t anonymous at all?

Every time you throw something away, you discard a piece of your DNA with it. Garbage, cigarette butts, you name it: it all carries a tiny, elemental piece of you. A product of the partnership between eco-orgs Hong Kong Cleanup, Ecozine and The Nature Conservatory as well as ad agency Ogilvy, The Face of Litter exploits this tiny piece of you, extrapolating your identity by analyzing that DNA sample using DNA phenotyping to create an educated guess as to what your face looks like, and then shows it on TV screens the whole city over.

Ogilvy & Mather HK – ‘The Face of Litter’ from Work that works on Vimeo.

Miss the trash can with one bag of Doritos and suddenly you’re Mr. Cool Ranch, your giant, computer-generated mug on bus stops from here to the name of somewhere else in Hong Kong.

And it’s a one-shot deal. Once you’re face is up, it’s up. No “Mister, but I’s.” There’s no trial, no amnesty, no asterisks and no strikes (except for the one). You litter, your face hits twitter.

With a database full of Chinese guys, you’d better make sure to throw your garbage away on your next visit to Hong Kong. Chances are you wont be just another face in the crowd.






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