Preserving 'The Majestic Plastic Bag'

DDB LA Produces Mockumentary to Fight Plastic Pollution

By Published on .

Highlighting the plight of the discarded plastic bag, DDB Los Angeles has joined with Heal the Bay, a nonprofit environmental organization, to produce "The Majestic Plastic Bag," a video tracking the "migration" of a plastic bag from a grocery store to the "Great Pacific Garbage Patch."

"Much like those fake trees that are actually cell-phone towers or the concept of 'turducken,' the feral plastic bag has become a pseudo-natural phenomenon," says DDB writer Regie Miller, who worked on the campaign. "Its story had to be told."

The mockumentary—created in the style of a nature channel documentary and narrated by Academy Award-winning actor Jeremy Irons— is designed to make people aware of California's plastic pollution problem as the state Senate prepares to vote on AB 1998. The legislation would ban single-use plastic bags at supermarkets, convenience stores and large retail establishments with pharmacies; limit the distribution of paper bags; and require reusable bags to be available for sale at these stores.

The film was shot on location in the Los Angeles area and was created through donated time and resources from DDB LA's creative team—creative director Kevin McCarthy; writers Miller and Sarah May Bates; and director of photography Erik Haase—and Partizan Pictures.

"We wanted to create something with traction and make something that would engage the consumer and be fun to take part in," Miller says. "You can lecture and scold people all you want, but these fist-shakings rarely get passed around. It's been incredibly exciting to actually play a small part in effecting real change for a cause we live and work right next to."

While the piece uses humor to make its point, the issue is serious. According to Heal the Bay, Californians alone use 19 billion bags each year, creating more than 123,000 tons of waste that costs taxpayers $25 million to clean up. Less than 5% of all single-use plastic bags are recycled.

Heal the Bay is a nonprofit organization that works to make Southern California's coastal watersheds and waters, including Santa Monica Bay, safe, healthy and clean through education, advocacy and community action.