Keep Calif. Beautiful “Beach Party”

Attractive young folks on a beach, singing a peppy song. Hey, if this formula worked for a whole genre of semi-hit movies, it should easily suffice as the content for a commercial aimed at dissuading people from littering on California’s beaches. BBDO West of San Francisco makes the most of it in this public-service spot for Keep California Beautiful. How can you not like a song that rhymes “picking up trash is such a hassle” with “way more fun to build a garbage castle”? Another nice touch: the two characters merrily dancing while clad in anti-toxic-hazard protective suits. The beach-movie parody is entertaining and will grab and hold viewers’ attention. But the spot is also shrewd in the way it presents the subject to its audience. Instead of hectoring and telling us not to be slobs, it gives us the pleasure of feeling superior to the slobs depicted on the screen — the carefree youths who sing, “Let’s trash the beach!” Once having looked down on these bubbleheads, we’ll have the idea fixed somewhere in our brains that we don’t want to join their no-class ranks the next time we visit the sand and surf ourselves. –Mark Dolliver