Project Description

Our new campaign for the Ministry of the Environment makes use of effects from the tabloid press and crime series, and it pushes the boundaries for what public campaigns can do.

This campaign is called Scrap Ignorance.now (skrot-uvidenheden.nu) and is about the consequences for people and the environment when cars are incorrectly scrapped. It was made in response to a new report produced by Deloitte for the Environment Protection Agency, which concludes that something like one car in four ends up at an unauthorised scrapyard.

To emphasise how serious this is, the campaign was made in a murky style, easily recognisable from American crime series. To add extra drama to the lack of transparency in the scrap business, the campaign uses effects that are more often seen in the tabloid press, where headlines intended to attract clicks are deliberately angled so sharply that the real point of the story fades into the background.

This meta-element is especially prominent on the outdoor posters in the campaign, where sensational, eye-catching newspaper headlines give the impression that they are about serious crimes like murder and human trafficking. A more careful look reveals a different story behind the headlines, and we see the posters are really about scrapping cars irresponsibly.

Setting the scene for the lack of transparency
The general lack of clarity is most obvious in the crime film that is the core of the campaign. Two boys are shown playing at the edge of a lake. They throw a stone into the water, and a car comes to view. Has there been a murder?

The investigator arrives at the scene of the crime, and we follow him as he dissects the car, and later stands on the “perpetrator’s” doorstep, where he rings the doorbell, and confronts the man with the fact that the car has been found, and without the owner’s knowledge has been involved in a crime.

Like the rest of the campaign, this scene dramatises the problematic links between appearances and the background, and between knowledge and uncertainty. What appears quite acceptable on the surface sometimes conceals a less respectable reality. The Ministry of the Environment is not trying to label people as criminals – ordinary Danish car owners like the man in the film – just because they have disposed of their cars in good faith with the breakers who paid most. The point is that ordinary car owners cannot see whether a particular breaker’s yard has guilty secrets.

The campaign encourages people to scrap their lack of knowledge by checking at the Scrap Ignorance.now website, to find the nearest car scrapyard with an environmental certificate. Otherwise there may be serious consequences for people and the environment. The web address is both the title of the campaign and its punchline, and it refers to the car owner’s duty to find out the details, as it is all too easy to become an unintentional accessory to a crime.

Well, who would not be willing to scrap ignorance and help to protect the environment at the same time?

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