Recycle Everywhere
(and we do mean ‘everywhere’).

The Canadian Beverage Container Recycling Association (CBCRA) was established in 2010 with a mandate to increase beverage container recycling in Manitoba to at least 75% recovery. Starting from a 42% recovery rate, there was much work to do.

In its first three years, CBCRA’s public-facing campaign effort – Recycle Everywhere – was literally everywhere in the province. The campaign, and its earworm audio tag, were widely visible thanks to a strong media buy. But recovery rates lagged behind their projections, peaking at just 53% recovery. This rate of increase was significantly lower than projections and comparable progress from other jurisdictions.


What they told us: change the media mix

When CBCRA engaged McKim in late 2012, they did so with a clear directive: The organization suspected their recovery rates were lagging due to their media selection. They provided us with previous media plans, as well as public awareness research that demonstrated a high level of awareness of the campaign in-market.
Any newly-hired agency would be excited by this kind of challenge — Our client wants us to make changes, to make a big splash! Let’s shake things up right out of the gates! And McKim was no exception. However, on review of the media plan, we were surprised to discover there were no major flaws. The tactical approaches that were in use were close to what we would have recommended.


What we saw: a ‘transformational’ opportunity

We knew there had to be another reason for a slow uptick in recovery, and we found it in the public-opinion research. While awareness of the campaign was demonstrable, engagement was lacking with the message in market, which was directive and informative, but not persuasive.

We shifted the message from what to do,
to why you should do it.

We proposed a new, research-based strategy. A large proportion of respondents in the public opinion research indicated that they would be more likely to recycle if they understood what happened to their empty beverage container once they were recycled. Our strategy was to shift the message from telling the public what to do, to showing them why they should do it.

The Transformation Campaign.

A key to this strategic approach was specificity: instead of treating all five container types as a single category of ‘beverage containers,’ we used the strong media buy to showcase each container types individually. By focusing on a single container type — plastic or glass bottles, aluminum cans, gable-top cartons or juice boxes — we could tell a specific and memorable story about what each container material could be used for, once recycled.

In our creative approach, we morphed each container into an end-use product. The result was a compelling visual that is at once disruptive, and plainly obvious to the audience: recycled aluminum can be used to create parts for airplanes, the paper in gable top cartons can be used to make books, crushed glass can be used as an undercoating for paved roads. Thanks to an integrated media approach (inherited, then enhanced by McKim with a stronger and more specific online media buy), we shared a number of these individual stories to convey one collective takeaway message: when you recycle, you give beverage containers a new life.


The “Transformation” campaign resulted in a 15% increase in total beverage container recovery in its first year – including an 8% change in the recovery rate, the largest such increase in CBCRA’s history.


increase in year-over-year total recovery.


increase in recovery rate.


unaided awareness.