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Don't Trash the Beach

BBDO Creates Retro PSA to Help Keep California Beautiful

By Published on . 2

In an effort to keep the state's beaches clean, Keep California Beautiful is launching its first new PSA in three years. The retro TV spot from BBDO West, San Francisco, is designed to draw attention to the problem while urging people not to "trash the beach."

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BBDO created this retro PSA for Keep California Beautiful.

This year 61% of travelers will visit a beach destination, according to TripAdvisor. That likely means a lot of litter. In 2005, there were more than half a million pieces of garbage on California beaches.

Roz Romney, creative director-art director for BBDO West, said the campaign was a good fit for the agency. "BBDO has a history of doing pro bono work for causes we care about, especially environmental issues. In the past we've done work for Youth Leadership Institute, the Sierra Club and an effort a few years ago for Keep California Beautiful, which encouraged recycling. As Californians who live in a coastal city, we are also personally invested in keeping our beaches clean."

The new PSA, directed by Tool of North America's Geordie Stephens, is designed as a throwback to the Muscle Beach days of Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello. It was shot on the same beach as their film "Beach Blanket Bingo."

One problem with capturing the same look and feel as a classic beach movie was casting. "In doing the casting, we had to make sure to be true to the early '60s look and body type," Ms. Romney said. "Actors are so ridiculously in shape these days, especially in L.A., that we had to cast for people who were trim but looked normal and natural -- not like they're in the gym five days a week. Tattoos and piercings also had to be avoided."

The other problem, of course, was trashing the beach for the video without trashing the beach for real. "The shoot was a labor of love, and there was a large crew on the production of this spot who were all donating their time," Ms. Romney said. "Every time we broke down a scene, at least 10 people would be scurrying around the beach with trash bags. We also made sure to weight the trash down with sand so nothing would fly away."

The spot is scheduled to run in California, but it is being considered for use in other beach markets, such as Miami and New York/New Jersey.

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