Keep Britain Tidy launches smoking-related litter campaign across TV, OOH, digital audio, social and radio

Keep Britain Tidy, the environmental charity, is launching a campaign tackling smoking-related litter (the number one littered item in the UK) that aims to highlight the damaging environmental consequences of dropped cigarette butts.

The charity plays a key role in encouraging the public to help keep the country’s streets, beaches and shared spaces clean as the organisation champions the end of waste and improvement of places. It has appointed purpose-driven creative agency 23red and media agency Wavemaker UK to handle creative and PR for the campaign as well as strategic planning and buying, respectively.

The campaign includes the charity’s first TV ad, which breaks this week, and highlights how each butt dropped can take 14 years to break apart, seeping toxic chemicals into the earth and waterways, leaving behind microplastics. Despite smoking rates being at their lowest level since records began, cigarette butts continue to account for 66 per cent of all litter. In addition to TV, the campaign will also run across OOH, digital audio social and radio from February.

The overall campaign aims to encourage smokers to change their behaviour by demonstrating the toxic life a butt has after its been dropped. As part of its strategy for driving behavioural change, the campaign will employ smart targeting methods to reach heavy smokers in the moments before they light up. Focusing activity on know triggers and smoking occasions, it reminds and encourages smokers to “bin it or take it with you”.

“Every day, millions of cigarette butts are poisoning our environment, doing damage that can never be undone – this is why our campaign is so important,” said Allison Ogden-Newton, Chief Executive of Keep Britain Tidy. “Our environment cannot wait a day longer for us to tackle this toxic timebomb and we need to get the message across to smokers that each and every one of them has a role to play by doing the right thing – either binning their butt immediately or taking it with them if there is no bin available.

“The costs of dealing with cigarette litter, both financial and environmental, are too high. At a time when we are seeing a squeeze on finances individually and as a nation, as well as understanding the impact we are all having on our environment, we need to take action now. It is for this reason that we are so proud to announce our new campaign.”