Plastic Bags Kill Campaign
Many societies are consumed with material goods and the idea to purchase objects as proof of one’s wealth. As these societies continue to grow, so do their shopping habits and use of plastic bags to hold their newly purchased possessions. Plastic bags are used commonly throughout first world counties, so a campaign called “Plastic Bags KILL” was released to shoppers. This campaign featured plastic bags with animals that appeared to be dead printed on the side with the accompanied phrases “Plastic bags KILL, keep our oceans clean.” By featuring the phrases together with the visuals of dead animals, it connects that the bags shoppers use end in the ocean and killing defenseless animals that are choked by consumers’ pollutions. The Plastic Bags KILL campaign targeted materialistic societies, who rely on plastic bags to carry goods, in order to persuade the audience to limit the use of plastic bags and in turn save the sea creatures.
This campaign targeted the consumer societies and the needs of these shoppers. In many stores, plastic bags are provided to carry the newly purchased merchandise home. The campaign purposely uses plastic bags to show the consumers that these bags are killing animals and that the animals are in the mercy of the shoppers. On the side of the bag, where customers use the handles, is where the neck of the animal is printed showing that when the bag is held, it looks as though the human is choking the animal, emphasizing that it is the shoppers fault for the death of these creatures. Printed in bold letters are the phrases “Plastic bags kill” and “keep our oceans clean,” making a direct connection between the plastic bag the shopper is holding and the consequences of using the bag.
By suggesting it is the consumers who are killing these creatures from the use of plastic bags, evokes a sense of pathos. Users and viewers of these bags feel sadness from seeing the dead creatures printed on the side of the bag because they feel as though they are the ones that are contributing to the issue of pollution killing animals. From a viewer’s point of view, they see someone carrying a bag filled with material goods while they hold an animal by their neck, showing that the creatures are in the mercy of us humans who are polluting animals’ habitats. Both users and viewers would rethink using a plastic bag once they see a creature that died from the use of plastic bags. This plastic bag campaign is focusing on the consumerist society and emphasizing the negative effects plastic bags have on wildlife and enforcing a means to decrease shoppers’ pollution.
In these developed societies where material goods are purchased often, these societies have formed certain common places about products and the environment. The campaign was released in multiple counties across the world, specifically ones where consumers tended to purchase a lot of items and frequently shopped. The commonplace of buying bigger and better things is apparent in these societies, and this ad enforces this belief. Although it uses plastic bags to share its message, the campaign relies on the consumers to continue to buy products so that the bags warning consumers of the consequences of shopping will continue to spread. The advertisement creates a sense of irony by using plastic bags to share their message even though they are condemning the use of plastic products. In order to share the message, the campaign uses the bags to reach a large number of people quickly. Shoppers carry bags everywhere and the bags are seen by hundreds of passer byers, which quickly spreads the ads quickly and to a lot of people. The creators of this ad strategically used bags as a way to build off the commonplace that people should buy new things in order to spread their campaign idea more efficiently.
Also in many developed societies, a common place exists that is centered on helping the environment. The campaign’s main focus is the environment and the damaging effects shoppers’ bags have on the sea life. It evokes a sense of duty to protect the environment in which we live, but also the environment of the wildlife and the common goal to save the animals. The goal to reduce the use of plastic bags is shared through the message to “keep our oceans clean.” Plastic is one type of trash that does not completely disintegrate over time, rather it breaks into smaller pieces. Much of the plastic developed countries use end up in the oceans, specifically three trash clusters in three different oceans. Some parts of the ocean are considered plastic slush where there is so much plastic remains that the once clear water teeming with life is now full of bits of plastic and dead creatures. The campaign calls upon anyone using or viewing the bag by using the term our, as to create a sense of community among users and call the civic duty to keep the oceans clean.
Across the world, pollution is a growing issue that is impacting multiple aspects of all societies. The campaign highlights the issue that with the pollution of plastic bags in the oceans, many creatures are dying. The creators of this ad campaign focused on the rhetorical situation to emphasize the need for change in regards to the pollution of our world. Understanding that the world has become more polluted prompted the campaign to be launched in order to make consumers aware of the products they are using and the effects it has on the world around them. The creators actually created kairos for their advertisement by releasing the ad during a time when plastic bags were being used and wasted. They created a sense of kairos by making an opportune time to save animals and the environment by not using bags. When shopping, a person may rethink using a plastic bag when they see the dead creature printed on the plastic that killed it, especially if it looks as though the shopper is one doing harm to the animal. It has become a custom to get a plastic bag while shopping and to throw it out when done with it; however this bag questions the shoppers about what happens after the bag is thrown away. The plastic kills; the bags that shoppers easily toss away end up taking lives of animals by getting into natural habitats and killing creatures who suffocate on the polluted substance. The campaign’s goal is to have consumers rethink if they truly need to use a bag to carry their purchases, and if so, the shopper must face the guilt that he or she is not only polluting the environment but killing sea creatures.
Through the use of different rhetorical devices, such as pathos and the use of commonplaces, the “Plastic Bags KILL” ad focuses on the ideal to conserve rather than spend. In an extremely materialist society, a plastic bag is expected when one goes shopping, however one does not realize the implications each bag has on the society. The campaign highlights the detrimental side effects of using plastic bags on wildlife and calls on the audience to engage in using less plastic in order to keep the oceans clean.