Sigh. The marketing geek in me keeps holding out for the TTC to come up with smart and effective self-promotion and marketing campaigns. Their new campaign to stop litter is another in a long-string of disappointing outreach posters.
Litter is a big concern for transit riders. If you look at the early footage of Toronto’s subway stations, they were as clean as your dinner plate. But as a city (and culture) we have somehow allowed our trash-tolerance to slip to embarrassing levels. I know litter is high-up on the list of concerns whenever the TTC surveys its riders.
But these new posters do not possess a level of cleverness that could actually engage a litterbug — playing the guilt card and “you wouldn’t do this at home” is lazy and out of touch with reality. There are loads and loads of people who have newspapers and food wrappers splayed across their livingroom. And it’s quite possible they are the same people willing to leave their crap behind on a subway seat.
Sadly, the campaign looks more like a college marketing assignment than an outreach campaign for the nation’s largest transit system. The idea could have worked if it was executed with some style and thoughtfulness. The TTC could also take the example set by Den Bosch, Netherlands — instead of trying to shame us, clean up the system and announce it in a very creative way. The large mat mimics the entrance to a house where we wipe/leave our shoes. The text on the mat reads: “Welkom. Wij doen er alles aan om het station schoon te houden. En daarin gaan we best ver.” This means: “Welcome. We do everything we can to keep the station clean. And we go pretty far in doing this.” [via]
I feel comfortable giving my opinion about design and marketing (’cause that’s a large part of my job) but I feel weird about giving advise to the TTC on personnel issues. But I’d like to humbly suggest that they should employ a two-person crew at Kipling, Kennedy, Downsview and Finch who could quickly goes through each train when trains reach the end stations. It would be a constant reminder to the riders that the TTC is serious about keeping the system clean. Or maybe they should consider installing recycling bins into the new subway cars the TTC is looking to purchase.