Central Office of Public Interest: Kicking up a stink

sewageAnother week, another pile of crap. Yep, over to the Central Office of Public Interest (COPI), a creative industry alliance, which is aiming to galvanise the Great British public as it strives to a permanent end to sewage dumping.

With figures from the Environment Agency showing sewage spills into England’s rivers and seas by water companies more than doubled last year, from 1.75 million hours in 2022 to 3.6 million hours of spills in 2023, this is quite literally a stinking issue.

Developed by agency AMV BBDO, the new “Smear Campaign” is designed to flag up the problem by using a hyper-realistic font made from excrement and other raw sewage products to call out the perpetrators.

By using live sewage dump data, COPI and AMV BBDO will project their message on top landmarks near sewage outlets, alongside live billboards outside Parliament and in affected boroughs.

COPI founder Humphrey Mills said: “In a country where polls tell us that sewage dumping plays a big role in how people vote in the forthcoming election, we turn a complex issue into simple facts. Sometimes, if you want people to clean up their act, you’ve got to play dirty.”

The photo-realistic font represents the disgusting reality of sewage dumps, which not only include human bodily waste but have in recent years increasingly contained condoms and wet wipes.

The campaign also highlights how sewage dumps are negatively impacting the public’s daily lives, with statements such as: “Your dog is drinking this”, “Your MPs voted for this”, and “You’re swimming in this”.

AMV BBDO art director Mario Kerkstra commented: “We went to various waterways to collect raw sewage ourselves. We then used the set of items we found as references to create the font and its many components. It was important that, from an art directorial point of view, the many textures, shapes and colours looked as realistic as possible.”

So, what is the consensus around the Decision Marketing office?

Well, let’s be honest, the Government and its ministers have been turning a blind eye to this issue for far too long. OK, this is graphic but as Humphrey Mills says: “If you want people to clean up their act, you’ve got to play dirty.” And this is pretty dirty.

Sadly, we don’t seem to know how to do protests any more in this country. In Europe, they would be dumping shit on the steps of Parliament, rather than riding around in a van hoping to make a difference.

You only have to compare the recent action by farmers to get what we mean. In France, for instance, they blocked the main roads to Paris and set up a mini village on the motorway, serving top nosh. They then dumped silage on the streets to hammer home their point. Bless ’em, our farmers drove past Westminster sounding their horns.

As we have said before, admittedly, we rarely venture into the English Channel, and our local river, the Adur, is far too treacherous due to its tidal pull. However, for once, it is not just about us, it is about all the animals – and the watersports enthusiasts, the swimmers and the paddlers – that are affected. Unleash hell.

Decision Marketing Adometer: A ‘give them some shit’ 10 out of 10

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