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DNA Testing Can ID Hong Kong's Litterbugs

By Brian Adams 22 April 2015
Scientists in America can use DNA technology to identify litterbugs half way around the world. That's the premise of a recently launched ad campaign, ‘The Face of Litter’, intended to strike fear into the hearts of Hong Kong residents and visitors who toss aside trash for others to clean up. The city-wide campaign for the Hong Kong CleanUp Initiative is combatting a hefty issue – 16 thousand tons of waste dumped in Hong Kong every day. By identifying the litterbugs, campaign organisers hope to encourage people to change their ways for a better, cleaner Hong Kong. "Last year, during the six-week Hong Kong Cleanup Challenge, 418 teams comprising 51,064 participants, collected a total of 3,894,000 kg's of litter from city streets, coastal area's and country trails. Sadly, we suffer from a serious 'pick up after me' mentality, and this simply must change," said Lisa Christensen, Founder and CEO of The Hong Kong Cleanup. Ogilvy & Mather Hong Kong, the agency that launched the campaign, turned to scientists in America and the technology at Parabon NanoLabs to create composite images, to assist with identifying our city’s trashy residents. By examining discarded cigarette butts, coffee cups, and even a condom, experts were able to create DNA-based composites of the perpetrators. [masterslider id=75] However, the litterers are not used in the adverts that will appear across the city as well as online. According to a campaign spokesperson who said the campaign is not meant to name and shame specific people, the science was tested out on five office workers at Ogilvy to judge the test’s accuracy. The test results, combined with factors inlcuding demographics based on the type of litter analysed, correctly identified qualities including ethnicity, age, and even eye colour and those faces now appear in the campaign. Campaign Credits: Reed Collins – Chief Creative Officer Rafael Guida – Executive Creative Director, OgilvyOne Jim Fong – Creative Director, OgilvyOne Craig Mason – Head of Creative Technology Viko Wong – Business Director, OgilvyOne Carey Pearson – Group Account Director, Advertising Sincere Ng – Account Manager, OgilvyOne Mikyung Kim – Head of TV, Hogarth

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