Ogilvy Hong Kong Goes High-Tech in Anti-Littering Effort

By Erik Oster 

Ogilvy Hong Kong decided to tackle Hong Kong’s littering epidemic by holding those personally responsible accountable for the act.

To do so, the agency came up with a high-tech solution: using Snapshot DNA Phenotyping Analysis to identify offenders by the litter they left behind. Representations of those individuals’ faces were then posted on digital billboards on the Hong Kong transit system, as well as on social media and in print publications, as “The Face of Litter.” Thecampaign reminds those who see the images not to litter, lest their face be the next one people see. It’s a pretty unique way to address what is often seen as an anonymous crime, and the fear of litter shaming could actually change behavior, although the methods used also raise some serious ethical and legal questions.


“This campaign is one of a kind,” Reed Collins, chief creative officer at Ogilvy Hong Kong, told Adweek. “It’s interactive. It’s innovative. It’s our own science experiment that we’re using to create social change. Litter is such a major problem in Hong Kong, and thanks to technology, we can now put a face to this anonymous crime and get people to think twice about littering.”