LCBO campaign urges bottle recycling

Return bottles. Get money.

Return bottles. Get money.

This simple concept is the premise behind a recent initiative from the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO), The Beer Store and the Ontario government in an effort to increase wine and liquor bottle recycling rates.

The LCBO led the recent integrated campaign to raise awareness, and enlisted the help of BBDO Toronto, which branded the program as Bag It Back. The campaign is running across Ontario and is comprised of POP (including a heavy-duty blue plastic bag), three radio spots,, print and a 30-second TV spot. TV and radio executions play on ‘ship- and

genie-in-a-bottle’ concepts. ‘We had some fun with iconic [bottle] situations,’ says Jack Neary, vice-chairman/CCO at BBDO Toronto.

‘The strategic message we were trying to deliver is that it’s a small trip that’s well worth it.’

Currently, 67% of wine bottles in Ontario are recycled through Blue Boxes. This program, which is modelled after similar efforts in B.C. and Alberta, aims to hike that stat up to 85%. The LCBO has committed to spend $7.5 million on Bag It Back ad efforts over the next two years.

We asked Kurt Beaudoin, co-CD at Calgary-based Highwood Communications, and Stephen Jurisic, partner/co-CD at Toronto-based John St., to weigh in on whether this campaign inspires them to trek back their empties.


SJ: I can bring my scotch, whiskey and wine bottles back and get a refund? Sign me up. Unfortunately, this new campaign to communicate it leaves me flat.

KB: These ads are directed at beer and wine drinkers, so maybe the ads should talk to those people like the beer companies do. Drinking beer’s fun, drinking wine’s fun and getting money back is fun, so these ads should be fun too. Instead they feel more like a PSA.


SJ: Big production, big ship and an annoying actor just don’t add up to something I want to watch. It felt like a bit of a walk to explain that you can bring your bottles back. I wish it was tonally more relevant, and little

more insightful.

KB: As of Feb. 5, 2007, you can take your bottles back for a refund. So why the historical, period piece TV concept? I don’t understand. As a side note, it is a nicely produced period piece.


SJ: Very clean, very boring. Where’s the ship? Now I miss the ship.

KB: In print, if you read the headline, look at the visual and see the logo and still can’t tell what the message is, you’ve failed. These print ads fail to communicate the message. In fact, simply stating: ‘You can now return your bottles for money’ would be a more effective headline.


SJ: I like the bag and the logo.

KB: Same as print.


SJ: A genie, a ship in a bottle, a ship launching, and more annoying actors. Enough said.

KB: The radio is the best element of this campaign. These executions most clearly communicate that empty bottles are now worth money.


SJ: This feels inconsistent with all the other messaging. I wish it was more inviting and interesting to navigate. And why is it so clinical and government-like? Oh yeah, it is the government.

KB: The website looks great and contains all the necessary information. It does however, like the print, take a while to get to the ‘You can now return your bottles for money’ part.

Client – LCBO

Patrick Ford, senior director, corporate policy and government relations; Nancy Cardinal, VP marketing and customer insights; Bill Kennedy, executive director, corporate communications; Tina Truszyk, manager, marketing

Ad Agency – BBDO Toronto

Jack Neary, CD; Greg Frier, Barnaby Southgate, Peter Sayn-Wittgenstein, copywriters; Edd Baptista, Julie Markle, Amu Occhipinti, ADs; Winnie Alford, agency producer; Tim Welsh, Mark Pileggi, Steve Groh, account services