Keep Britain Tidy launches campaign to stub out litter caused by smoking

The environment charity launches first TV and BVOD campaign this month, with social and digital support in February 2023.

Environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy is launching a campaign to tackle smoking-related litter with its first TV and broadcast video on demand (BVOD) ads.

The charity has appointed 23red and Wavemaker to handle creative and PR, and strategic planning and buying respectively.

Keep Britain Tidy is focusing on smoking-related litter to highlight the damaging environmental effects of dropped cigarette butts on the ground, with butts cited as the number one littered item in the UK. The campaign aims to encourage smokers to change their behaviour by demonstrating the toxic life a butt has after it's been dropped.

Supporting out-of-home, social, digital audio and radio activity is set to launch in February.

Oliver Halliwell, Managing Partner, Wavemaker UK said: “As well as being a blight on some of the most beautiful spots in Britain, cigarette butts have persistent, harmful effects on the environment – they are extremely toxic as well as ugly. Understandably, without this knowledge, the likelihood of smoking-related litter is far higher.

“We must arm smokers with this crucial information, and we’re delighted to have been selected by Keep Britain Tidy to help do just that. In delivering this with 23red, we truly have the opportunity to create unrivalled work that moves people and has a positive impact on the world.”

TV and BVOD showing the 14-year life span of a cigarette butt

The TV and BVOD ads launched this month highlight how each cigarette can take 14 years to break apart, seeping toxic chemicals into the earth and waterways.

Cigarette butts continue to account for 66% of all litter, according to the charity. The campaign aims to use smart targeting methods to reach heavy smokers in the activities that are known to trigger them lighting up, encouraging them to “bin it or take it with you”.

Allison Ogden-Newton, Chief Executive at Keep Britain Tidy said: “Our environment cannot wait a day longer for us to tackle this toxic timebomb and we need to get the message across to smokers that each and every one of them has a role to play by doing the right thing – either binning their butt immediately or taking it with them if there is no bin available.

“With the agencies’ highly collaborative, integrated approach and passion for purpose-driven behaviour change, 23red and Wavemaker are ideal partners to support us in stamping out this issue, once and for all.”

23red Strategy Partner Simon Mutter added: “Keep Britain Tidy’s mission has never been more relevant.

“This important brief is about improving the environment on all our doorsteps. Flicking is habitual, unconscious and normalised, so we’re excited to draw on our behaviour change experience in public health and sustainability to get smokers to take responsibility for the environmental impact of their habit and bin their butts.”