A campaign that used DNA analysis to give a face to anonymous Hong Kong litterbugs, then posted representations of the faces on billboards across the city, has been a big hit on social media.
The Face of Litter campaign was launched on Global Earth Day last month for the Hong Kong Cleanup Initiative, organised by online magazine Ecozine and the Nature Conservancy. It was aimed at raising awareness of the extent of littering in the city by pinpointing those responsible and encouraging people to change their behaviour.
And you did this how?
Marketing communications agency Ogilvy & Mather Hong Kong came up with the idea for the billboard campaign and enlisted US-based Parabon Nanolabs. Ogilvy sent the company samples of litter found on local streets, including chewing gum, cigarette butts and a condom. Parabon used its DNA phenotyping system, SnapShot, to read tens of thousands of genetic variants from each sample. From that data, the company says, it can accurately predict ethnicity, eye, hair and skin colour, freckling and face shape.
Well that's creepy as...
“Because age is impossible to determine through DNA alone, but still integral in creating an accurate portrait, DNA data has been combined with other factors, such as demographics based on the type of litter and where it was collected to determine the approximate age of the litterer,” Collins says.
So you put up digital wanted posters of people who may look nothing like the actual litterer, but could look like a completely innocent individual who's about to get a backlash from a social media lynch mob?!
Christensen says that although DNA alone can only produce a high probability of what someone looks like, the purpose of the campaign was not to point fingers at specific individuals.
WHAT PART OF "DIGITAL WANTED POSTERS" DID YOU NOT UNDERSTAND?!
“It was intended to provoke a conversation to create positive social change for the people of Hong Kong. The prospect of this idea alone, we hope, will be enough to make people think twice about littering,” she says. “Sadly, we suffer from a serious ‘pick-up-after-me’ mentality, and this simply must change.”
Through public shaming. Because that works so well in so many other areas. -_- Oh dear God...
But hey! Why stop there? Check out the link to see all the neat pictures they've got.
Plus there's even a program involved for tracking pet owners who let their dogs crap on the sidewalk, too.