Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

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It seems like every publication, ours included, is running little "how-to" pieces offering some handy tips for the average American on how to face their social and environmental responsibilities. One can't help but recall the mantra, "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle" from years past and now even greater strides are being taken. Surprisingly enough, many companies and corporations are the ones leading the charge to promote and produce earth-friendly products and practices. The Martin Agency got a head start about a year ago, when it launched a green initiative within the company. Recently, its creatives stepped it up a notch by creating a smart internal poster campaign to promote their efforts and to encourage participation within the workplace. The recycling advert includes several print ads from different companies that all display strikingly similar ideas. All posters feature the slogan, "Ad agencies are good at recycling ideas. Let's get to work on everything else." We spoke with creative director Joe Alexander about the project.

How did the importance of green practices arise within the company?
We started a Martin green initiative about a year ago. A team, including department heads, starting working with our operations department—the people most responsible for our facility management. They are the people who really can make an agency green and hold the keys to the car. We started looking at everything from recycling to paper cups to lighting to an office redesign. We wanted to start with simple things employees could do and graduate to more lifestyle changes like carpooling, a rooftop garden, etc. So a new, more complete recycling program is our first step.

How did the creative team arrive at the final concept?
We wanted to publicize the new effort. And knowing how cynical agency people are, we wanted to do it with wit and surprise. As a business we are great navel-gazers. We love to copy each other, mimic trends, and of course, steal ideas. It was a natural place to go—recycled ideas.

Was their an abundance of recycled ad ideas to choose from or was it difficult to track them all down?
Well, it was daunting at first—not the idea—but the legwork in finding and scouring the books. Then Eric Dome, a writer at the agency, sent a link to, a site dedicated to keeping track of similar looking ads. It was the perfect resource. It was really up to us to find the most visually striking ideas—one all employees could understand and weren't to "inside."

Would you say this campaign is a departure from your usual efforts?
The agency is great about producing fun internal stuff. Mike Hughes, our CD and president, understands the importance of giving staff a chance to create outside the typical work flow, so these projects are a good release. And we get to laugh at ourselves —which is always healthy.

Whats next on the horizon?
Next on our green initiative is the banning of plastic water bottles. So we will do some fun stuff with that. We will keep you posted.

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