CA to tap Ogilvy for push against driver litter

SACRAMENTO: The California Department of Transportation intends to award Ogilvy PR Worldwide its 22-month, $6.5 million education campaign aimed at getting drivers to stop littering the state's highways and freeways.

SACRAMENTO: The California Department of Transportation intends to award Ogilvy PR Worldwide its 22-month, $6.5 million education campaign aimed at getting drivers to stop littering the state's highways and freeways.

The litter inevitably ends up polluting waterways, such as creeks, rivers, and lakes.

Though it issued an "intent to award," the department would not comment, as the contract has not been officially awarded yet.

Other firms competing for the account had until today to contest the department's intent to award the contract to Ogilvy. By press time, no firms had done so.

Ogilvy had developed the pilot program tested in Fresno, CA, three years ago, said Christi Black, MD of Ogilvy's Sacramento office. Starting in October, Ogilvy will build on the pilot program's success by developing a multicultural, statewide effort aimed primarily at San Diego, LA, the Central Valley, the Bay Area, and Sacramento, as well as some rural areas.

"The number-one problem is cigarettes," Black said. "People throw cigarettes out car windows. It creates a huge water pollution problem. It tends to be younger drivers who just don't care or just don't think about it."

The campaign - which will be in English, Spanish, and Asian languages - will launch in October under the slogan "Don't Trash California." Black said she hopes the message resonates with drivers because "it's in your face, not touchy-feely."

Collateral and messaging will ideally hit people while driving, said Black, by targeting them through radio and outdoor ads, and locales like car-rental and car-washing businesses.

"We want to get people where they live, work, and play, and particularly behind the wheel," said Black. "This is going to be very community focused."

The California Assembly has also passed a bill to make "Don't Trash California" the state's official environmental message. The bill awaits Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's (R) signature.

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