A new campaign is aiming to promote the virtues of expanded polystyrene, giving the material the new consumer-friendly name of Airpop. The German IK packaging organisation and Eumeps’ Power Parts group, which are jointly organising the campaign, are hoping consumers get the message that EPS protects their goods, their valuables and their loved ones. And they have paid branding experts from top communication agency Ogilvy & Mather to make sure the message is delivered in a way consumers will like.
It is difficult to know whether campaigns to promote the positive aspects of plastics have a lasting effect. Consumers do not use much reasoning when they decide if they like something or not. Brand agencies know that eliciting a positive emotional response in consumers is more successful, so the Airpop campaign seems to be on the right track with its theme of “protection” and its imagery of children.
Other campaigns have also attempted to cast plastics in a positive light. In 2005, the American Chemistry Council launched a $35m campaign called Essential2 to tell consumers how important chemical products, such as plastics, are to everyday life.
Initiatives in Europe have set environmental goals to show the plastics industry is taking positive action. The Plastics2020 initiative was launched in 2009 in the UK by the British Plastics Federation, Packaging & Films Association and PlasticsEurope to boost plastics recycling. EuPC and national plastics organisations also have an environmental focus in the Waste Free Oceans project.
Vinyl 2010 showed what was possible if the industry acts together when it achieved its goal of boosting Europe’s PVC recycling to 250,000 tpa. Successor programme VinylPlus has an ambitious target of 800,000 tpa and it has now passed the 440,000 tpa mark.
A campaign needs to have well defined goals, as well as smart communication tools, if it is to have any chance of getting through to doubting consumers.
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