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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Paper or... paper.

I saw this DDB *mockumentary* on Agency Spy called The Majestic Plastic Bag, and it highlights the problem of excess plastic bags in the environment on behalf of non-profit Heal The Bay. They’re promoting California proposition AB 1998, which seeks to greatly reduce the distribution of single-use plastic bags while encouraging the use of reusable bags. Good cause but really, why just California and why just bags?

Everyone in the country uses a ton of plastic bags and bottles. Maybe this is the price of living with something that was supposed to make life easier. Consider how many plastic bags you throw away every day—in larger, plastic, bags. Let’s open that shit up and make it a national issue.

As for the piece itself, it’s been done. The Plastic Bag is a more dramatic take on the exact same subject done earlier this year by director Ramin Bahrani, and narrated by Werner Herzog (clip below). Again, good cause and all, and maybe Heal The Bay saw it and wanted one just like it, as clients tend to ask for something they’ve seen elsewhere.

The differences in the Bahrani piece is the length and the bag as hero, its story told with a first-person narrative. Or maybe the creatives saw it and were influenced by it, which happens. Benefit of the doubt here. *cough, cough* People experience similar visions when it comes to executions, just, credit where credit’s due come award time.

Jeremy Irons is his usual solid self, even though the Discovery/Nat Geo mock vibe here undermines the seriousness off the issue in a way Herzog piece didn’t. One thing both don’t do though is explain the minutia of what really happens to the plastic itself. People think it stays in one form and floats around or blows around landfills, but because the material used is photodegradable, the sun and water both act to break it down into some mushy, nasty stuff.

Will straight up facts convince people? Rowing across the ocean? Seeing dead or dying animals eating plastic? Less bags in Home Depot? I’m not sure, but it’s a start.

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