Litterary humour

I am a great believer in the use of humour for getting an important message across. Of course there is the place for a serious, firm message and humour isn’t by any means appropriate for every type of communiqué. But I do think that it’s time that we all went back to the drawing board about the “don’t litter” message and spent some time thinking about how we can get the message across in a more effective and more appealing way.

I have come across some brilliantly humorous anti-litter messages over the last few years. Take, for instance, the sign on the side of a pub in Devon : “when the road and the plant pots are full, please use the ashtray below” and the wonderful cartoon below that I spotted in the Lake District of a dog saying to its owner “I’ve done my job – now do yours” (although I did worry that it could have been misunderstood and might have resulted in human as well as dog poo on the streets…..).

Now it's your turn.......

Now it’s your turn…….

I also liked the sign from America which said “Do not throw cigarette butts on the ground – our squirrels are getting cancer”. And, of course, the iconic photo below staged by the Marine Conversation Society – “No butts on the beach” (you can click on the photo to get a better view of it).

No butts on the beach

No butts on the beach

So I was delighted to read an article from Nashville, Tennessee which announced a novel anti-litter campaign which was using humour to get the message across. The essence of the “Littering is wrong too” campaign is that there are all sorts of things that we all instinctively know are wrong – so why shouldn’t we all regard littering in this category too ?

The campaign’s amusing examples of things that are just plain wrong include : networking at a funeral, breaking up on Valentine’s Day and proposing marriage on a blind date. The campaign is inviting Nashvillians to submit more suggestions of things that are obviously wrong, with the winning suggestions being featured on public billboards. So far, the cream of what the Nashville public have suggested is : “Dad’s dance moves”, “sandals with socks”, “Grandma’s thong” and “warm beer”.

So, if you like this idea, please leave a comment below with your own suggestion of something that is just plain wrong and perhaps we can inspire the creation of a humorous but effective message that will appeal to some of those people who litter and who haven’t been swayed by sterner exhortations.

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