The NBA All-Star game hits Toronto in February for the first time. Is there no more natural a union for litter prevention than with a sport that involves putting something in a basket?
McDonald’s tried a two-week advertising campaign in Germany some years back in connection with world soccer: Same idea, different sport. It reaped results, a 62 per cent increase in bin usage over the course of the promotion.
Scotland linked its national anti-litter initiative to the 2014 Commonwealth Games it hosted in Glasgow.
For Toronto, Ontario, where littering behaviours are prolific and frequently go unchecked, this is an opportunity to target a demographic associated with littering.
An anti- litter campaign/contest would benefit everyone.
The All-Star basketball event has all the right elements for a superb awareness push: sports celebrities, corporate sponsors, a major league with an established fan base and social media channels, TV opportunities, community engagement possibilities, and an unbeatable theme, a natural tie-in: “Put It In The Basket”. It presents the chance to involve partners like beverage, fast food, confectionery, packagers and others whose products contribute to the litter stream.
Other places hold little prevention contests, everything from trash can-painting for kids in Montana to online slogan searches in Australia.
Texas just gave away a car as part of a statewide anti-litter sweepstakes. University of Northern Tennessee student Justin Truby, of Denton, received the keys to his 2016 Ford Fusion SE Hybrid during a Dallas Cowboys - Washington Redskins game in front of a hometown stadium crowd in Arlington on January 3. It was a big deal, done to mark 30 years of “Don’t Mess With Texas”, a celebrated anti-litter campaign.
In Ontario government circles, there exists not the faintest inkling of interest or infrastructure for tackling littering behaviours and reducing the amount of trash people throw on public lands.
Special events come and go, and it seems what the politicians most care about is rubbing shoulders with the who’s who, getting free stuff, glad-handing, and crowing in the media and on Twitter.
When it comes time to do something really meaningful around litter, you won’t find those decision makers anywhere around. And that’s unfortunate. Influential voices encouraging the people of Toronto to use a ‘basket’ for litter is something we don’t hear enough of.
Done right, a campaign during the NBA-Fest would be equivalent to a slam-dunk for litter prevention.