Close-Up: My YouTube ad of the week - Heal the Bay

Brand: Heal the Bay (a US environmental charity).

Task: Raise awareness of the incredible amount of plastic bag pollution in California.

Execution: Narrated by the Oscar-winner Jeremy Irons, The Majestic Plastic Bag is a "mockumentary". It hammers home the stark reality of California's plastic bag pollution situation, where more than 19 billion bags are used every year, creating 123,000 tons of unnecessary waste and $25 million in clean-up costs.

Credit: DDB LA.

Why I like this: One advantage of creating content for YouTube is not being constrained by length. And while the digital adage has it that nobody reads on the internet, people sure do watch a lot of video.

Sometimes folks want to sit back, relax and just watch, and this is perfect couch potato content for the internet. It's well produced, funny, has something genuine to say and is worth passing on to others.

Others have mentioned how similar the film is to Ramin Bahrani's Plastic Bag and it isn't hard to see why. As is often the case in advertising, every act of original thinking begins with a theft.

Wish I'd thought of: I'm not a big fan of celebrity endorsement. But here, having Jeremy Irons narrate the video helps make the content more authentic and credible.

Most public-service communications are standard informational advertising on traditional channels, often using shock tactics or arresting imagery in an attempt to cut through. Here, subtlety and humour triumphs, and that's a good thing.


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