New $2.5M anti-litter campaign: ‘Nobody Trashes Tennessee’ succeeds ‘Tennessee Trash’

The Tennessee Department of Transportation has launched a new anti-litter campaign under the slogan “Nobody Trashes Tennessee,” including a TV spot that is perhaps somewhat reminiscent of the old “Tennessee Trash” TV campaign, launched back in the late 1970s.

The “Tennessee Trash” commercial, which became fairly famous, featured a scruffy-looking fellow in a convertible throwing litter all over the landscape and a song including the line: “Ain’t no lower class than Tennessee trash.” Some argued it made the fellow sort of a role model rather than discouraging litter.

The latest TV spot features a young woman driver casually tossing a single drink cup and straw out her car window – then later shows her awakening as a wall caves in and a truck load of trash is dumped into her bedroom as the narrator talks about Tennessee’s litter problems.

Here is the old

Here is the new

TDOT has a news release HERE. The Times Free Press has an article on the new campaign, including some information on the research — including polling and focus groups – that led to its development. An excerpt:

In an effort to delve into the minds of Tennesseans and their attitudes about litter, state officials hired a polling firm that surveyed 1,001 Tennesseeans by telephone or via the internet to find out what the deal is.

Focus groups were later convened in Chattanooga, Knoxville, Nashville and Memphis to delve into some of the findings and seek effective ways to deliver messages about not littering.

As a result, one major demographic target of the campaign is aimed at younger drivers under age 34, especially women, whose perferred method of keeping their cars and trucks tiday appears to call for transferring their beverage cups, cans, straws, fast-food bags and other trash to roads by hurling them out the vehicle window.

Seventy-one percent of females ages 16 to 34 described themselves as litterers, higher than any other demographic group.

Males in the same age group don’t have too much to brag about themselves: 64 percent of the men in the 16-34 age category fessed up to littering as well.

In an effort to reach women, a television spot now running as a public message announcement depicts an opening shot of a scenic rural highway with a soft country tune jangling. It soon shifts to the driver, a young, casually dressed woman slurping from a straw jammed into her plastic cup.

… Michael McClanahan, transportation manager with Tennessee’s Highway Beautification Office, said the ad begins airing for free this week as public service announcements. Last week, billboards went up and some public buses began sporting advertising wraps, he said.

Polling, ads and associated activities are all part of a $2.5 million, five-year effort, TDOT spokeswoman B.J. Doughtey said. TDOT is using Enviromedia as the anti-litter campaign’s consultants. The PSA, produced by Revolution Pictures, was shot in Davidson County and features an actress from Cannon County, McClanahan said. Funding comes from revenue provided by a beer tax set aside for anti-litter efforts.

Department of Transportation officials say one bit of good news is that once those surveyed were made aware of the litter problem, nine out of 10 said they’re willing to properly dispose of their trash.

Among the key messages hitting home was the $15 million cost of litter pick up and reminders about how litter accumulates on roadways.




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