Non-profit shows how silly throwing away used oil is

The BC Used Oil Management Association uses an absurdist approach to get a message out in a low-interest category.

BC Used Oil

You wouldn’t think of throwing away used dishes or a dirty bike, so why would you dispose of motor oil or old antifreeze that way?

A new awareness campaign for the non-profit BC Used Oil Management Association (BCUOMA), which provides eco-friendly and cost-effective ways to dispose of used motor oil and antifreeze, aims to inform consumers about the latter’s recyclability, with the goal of diverting them from the landfill, where many people are tempted to send them.

A pair of TV spots that launched this month take a humorous approach to driving the BCUOMA’s message in what is a decisively low-interest category. One shows a cyclist preparing to throw his bike into a lake after it becomes dirty with bird droppings, before his cycling partner convinces him to throw it into a recycling bin nearby. In the other, a family cleans up after dinner by wrapping their entire place setting in a tablecloth and throwing it out. “Dirty dishes aren’t garbage,” the ad reads, “And neither is used oil.”

While most people are aware that hazardous materials like oil and antifreeze shouldn’t be poured down the drain, people’s knowledge often ends there, prompting them to deposit the substances in the trash, according to Kelly Duran, director of communications at BCUOMA.

Here Be Monsters, the Vancouver-based agency behind the campaign (which won the assignment in March) took a bit of an “absurd” approach to the creative to help drive interest in the category, noted creative director Tony Hird in a release about the launch. “ Likewise, it’s absurd to throw away a dirty bike or your dinner plates and glasses after dinner.”

“This year marked a change in BCUOMA’s marketing strategy,” adds Matt Bielby, partner and creative director at the agency. “Rather than hyper-targeting primarily male, DIY-ers in suburban and rural areas through primarily digital media, this year [the client] wanted to broaden the reach to raise awareness with the general public as well. And they wanted the tone of voice to be fun and engaging, making consumers feel good about doing the right thing.”

Bielby says the resulting brief was fairly simple: “Take people from uncertainty, disinterest and apathy on proper disposal to a desire and plan to do the right thing.”

In addition to the TV ads, the campaign includes digital and social ads “displaying the reincarnation-like ability of properly recycled motor oil,” according to Here Be Monsters.

Wirtz Media is handling media planning and buying for the campaign, which is expected to be in-market through the end of October.

BC Used Oil Bus