Coca-Cola billboards point the way to greener living

Coca-Cola poster [Image: Publicis Italy]
[Image: Publicis Italy]

Back in the day Coca-Cola wanted to buy the world a bottle of its famous soft drink, but now it wants to encourage people to recycle. And to help them do that, a recently launched print ad campaign sees Coca-Cola's ribbon design point them in the direction of the nearest recycling bin.

This innovative example shows how billboard advertising can interact cleverly with its environs, and be used for more than just selling people something. This campaign, created in partnership with Publicis Italy, has the environment at its heart. 

Boldly named The Sign, this campaign plays with the familiar white ribbon on a red background usually seen on Coca-Cola bottles and cans. In the posters and billboards, this ribbon warps into a hand that literally points people to recycling stations where they can dispose of their litter with peace of mind.

Appearing in central and eastern Europe, The Sign ties into Coca-Cola's eco promise of making 100% of its packaging recyclable by 2025. By 2030, Coca-Cola also wants to be able to return every single bottle and can it puts out.

Coca-Cola poster

Follow the ribbon, find the bin [Image: Publicis Italy]

And it looks like the posters are already working. Having made their debut at Bulgarian music festival the Happy Energy Tour, the posters contributed to a recycling rate of 85% for Coca-Cola cans.

Strategically positioned near pre-existing or new recycling bins, The Sign also builds on research by Publicis Italy that suggests that shoppers are much more likely to recycle if the means to do so are more obvious.

"This makes us understand that people care about recycling," adds the studio, "they just need a little encouragement to implement responsible behaviour."

Some have been left unimpressed by the campaign, however, and think Coca-Cola should be making greater steps to counterbalance the waste created by its products. 

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Dom Carter

Dom Carter is a freelance writer who specialises in art and design. Formerly a staff writer for Creative Bloq, his work has also appeared on Creative Boom and in the pages of ImagineFX, Computer Arts, 3D World, and .net. He has been a D&AD New Blood judge, and has a particular interest in picture books.