Do It Day from The Drum, a leading media and marketing publication, aims to prove that ‘marketing can change the world’. With the help of Coca-Cola and a team of creatives talking rubbish, we took on the challenge here in GB. Here’s what happened…

Coffee, croissants and a creative buzz. Based in the IBM Centre on London’s Southbank, The Drum’s Dot It Day was off with a pastry-filled bang. The goal? To show that marketing can change the world.

But, before we get to what happened on the day itself, here’s a brief overview of how we got here in the first place.

From Plan to Do: how we got here

Before Do It Day came Plan it Day, where brands from all across the country set challenges based on sustainability themes – the environment, education & training, health & wellbeing, diversity, community and commerce. Then some of the sharpest, most creative marketing minds in Britain would come together and work to solve these challenges.

Brands including Airbnb, Amnesty International, NSPCC, O2 and many more came along with their challenges.

"I think the Coca-Cola GB project is really exciting. I like the fact it’s trying to change behaviour, instead of just making some kind of statement that might quickly disappear." - Rebecca Stewart, The Drum.

Our challenge was to devise a behaviour-changing creating campaign to encourage people to litter less and recycle more. Littering is still a huge problem here in the UK. Last year, it was estimated that litter costs as much as £850 million a year to clear up.

Different teams generated their potential solutions for the challenge. One team – featuring creatives from Ogilvy, RAPP and more ­– was selected as a winner with their campaign idea ‘Talking Rubbish’. Now, on Do It Day, it was time to do their plan.

The Drum Do It Day
Some of the Coca-Cola GB team’s creatives, from different agencies across the country

Talking rubbish

Our plan for the day, with the help of some tech-wizardry from our friends at Hubbub – a charity who inspire healthier, greener lifestyles - was to get litter talking – literally.

Instead of having someone tell you why you shouldn’t be littering, we let the litter do the talking itself. That was the idea from the winning team at Plan It Day, and they were with us for the whole of Do It Day to put their plan into action.

"We’re always looking for ways to make litter projects more interesting. We’ve worked with Coca-Cola GB before, so it was great to work with them again on something local, something creative and something that can potentially have a big impact in the future." - Sarah Weigold, Hubbub.

At first we tried using a soft drinks can to bring our idea to life, but due to some unforeseen technical hitches, which we couldn’t get around on the day, we eventually decided that we needed a plan B.

So, with a sneaky speaker hidden in a takeaway coffee cup, and some even sneakier actors hidden from sight with a Bluetooth mic, we had our first piece of litter talking to unsuspecting passing members of the public. From begging for attention, to pleading to be thrown in the bin, the cup raised a lot of attention (if not some bewilderment) from passers-by.

The Drum Do It Day
Our chatty cup and actors preparing for their moment

After 4 hours of filming, 3 different locations, countless surprised members of the public and a fair few cups of coffee to keep everyone going, we were done. The next step was prepping a presentation to share with the whole Do It Day team. Our team worked on putting together the key information from the day, while in record time Hubbub edited a video of the public reacting to our chatty cup.

Our litter learnings

Despite not having much time to ‘perform’, our chatty cup caused quite a stir in the streets.

Dozens of people heard it, and while most reacted with (understandable) confusion, many did as the cup demanded and put it in the bin nearby. It was fantastic to see how this fun and thought-provoking attempt to raise awareness for litter could make an immediate impact, and, being digital, could also have the potential to be shared across social media and spread organically.    

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The Do It Day crowd enjoying our video

We’re hoping to take this project forward over the coming year and use it to raise awareness of litter and recycling in other locations around the country. With what we learned on Do It Day, we hope to take our ‘talking rubbish’ and use it to change a greater number of people’s attitudes to litter.

Maybe now that litter has a voice, we can help to stop littering in Great Britain once and for all.

Why we got involved

At the Coca-Cola system, we’re always looking for ways to protect the environment, and support the local communities in which we operate. From cutting the amount of plastic that goes into our bottles, to reducing carbon emission, sustainability is an issue we care deeply about.

We got involved with Do It Day to spread the message about litter and sustainability to the public in an original, creative manner.

The Drum Do It Day
The not-so-hidden camera

Bev Burnham, Sustainability Manager at Coca-Cola European Partners (our bottler), explains this nicely.

“Packaging accounts for 50% of our carbon footprint, so it matters a lot to us that our packaging has a minimal impact on the environment. Within our 4 walls, we reduce the amount of plastic we use and use recycled PET, and outside we’ve worked with local authorities to increase kerbside and on-the-go recycling.

“However, people still don’t recycle as much as they could, and that leads to litter (which everyone hates!).

“We want to be a part of the solution to that problem. We’re looking for ways to try to make people think at the exact moment when they could litter. Do It Day gave us an opportunity to share that challenge with fresh pairs of eyes”

The Drum Do It Day
The team getting photos of the star of the show

Both Plan It Day and Do It Day from The Drum were fantastic experiences. We were excited to come together with other brands and some of the country’s brightest creative minds and find creative solutions for problems we all care about. And now we’ll never look at a discarded coffee cup the same way again…

Find out more about what happened at Plan It Day