Friday, August 26, 2016

Will wanting to be part of the tribe get Millennials to compost?

Research has shown that while Millennials talk about being environmentally correct, it's actually the Baby Boomers who are the greenest.  So how to convert the non-doers to doers?  How about using peer pressure?  It seems to be particularly effective for this social media driven demographic.  As someone noted - they can't buy anything without checking with their friends first.

Moreover there was some intriguing research done on the topic of reusing hotel towels.  Remember that little card you found in your room the last time you traveled?  What exactly did it say?  Research has shown that the more specific the message, e.g. 65% of the people who stayed in this room reused their towels, the more effective it is.  Clearly social proof is playing a role.

Since so many people these days are self-described foodies, it makes sense to see if identification with that sub-culture can be used to change behavior.

Enter the city of San Francisco, which has apparently run out of landfill space and the "Real Foodies Compost" campaign.  The heart of the campaign is this video which is available in multiple lengths - :15, :30, and :40.  It will run on the microsite "" and on pre-rolls and social media.  

Out-of-Home, online banners, native advertising, and interestingly direct mail -- yes old-fashioned postcards - are being used as well.

I like the strategy.  Connecting to a sub-culture is a powerful way to persuade.  But I think the execution falls short because it does not exploit social proof.  I believe that if communications focused more on composting as a route to belonging to the group the campaign would be far more effective. 

My students would agree.  Here is a link to a blog posted previously about the topic, with their comments.  I have to admit that I was surprised when they suggested requiring proof before people could claim to be green.

Lukovitz, K. (2016, August 12)  San Francisco Campaign Aims To Make Composting Aspirational.  Retrieved August 26, 2016, from

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