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Case study: It's time to give plastic bags the flick!

bring_your_bagsThe creative brief for the plastic bag ban in Tasmania called for a distinct ‘identity’ and a brand that embodied the message that Tasmanians want a clean and healthy environment and sustainable use of resources. From 1 November 2013 Tasmanian retailers can no longer supply shoppers with non-biodegradable, lightweight plastic shopping bags, to carry or transport goods bought from the retailer. Our desired outcome is for retailers and the community to be fully aware of the ban, including the types of bags the ban will cover, what alternatives are appropriate, and the timing of when the ban will come into effect.

What challenges did we face?

Campaign hero imageOne of the biggest challenges was timing as we had to wait for the ban to become a law and thus a lot of the planning was on the premise of a ‘proposed’ ban.

Another big challenge was the fact that there were two distinct stakeholder groups we needed to tap into – retailers supplying the plastic bags and the general community at large. The retail groups include large supermarket chains, smaller independent supermarkets, CBD retailers, grocers, take-away shops, butchers, fishmongers, market stall-holders and local manufacturers, importers and wholesale suppliers of plastic bags.

Finally, we have been mindful about the tone of the campaign. We felt it should be friendly and informative, yet still taking account of issues such as the compulsory nature of the proposal; the extra requirements placed on retailers; and the Government’s fiscal constraint.

What worked well was…

Bus back adA clearly defined scope of the work and project outputs needed to promote the plastic bag ban in Tasmania. By asking for a fully developed Creative Brand, with digital designs for retailers (websites, portable banners,  posters, counter-top cards for shops, prompt cards for retailer staff, flyers and cash register notices) and the wider community (flyers, posters, website etc) we believe we have a consistency of brand and message across a diverse range of products.

Our website was designed and developed ahead of the official launch of the Plastic Bag Ban public awareness campaign in June. This has allowed us to reach out to retailers to provide them with the necessary information and resources to enable them to replace the bags that will be banned from the 1st of November this year. Feedback from users of the site has told us 415 people have registered for more information and promotion materials and every week we receive many enquiries from both the public and retailers.  Since December 2012 the website has had approximately 2000 hits from unique visitors.  Another interesting statistic is the fact that to date 790 people have been directed to the site from our Facebook ad.

Go to to add to our numbers.

Things we would do differently next time…

Contact the Communications and Marketing team in DPAC very early on to get them involved right from the start! There’s a lot they can help you with and their experience with a wide range of campaigns across different departments was very useful from the creative brief and request for tender stage right through to signing off of all the style and logo elements for advertising across a wide range of media. As the Creative Brand needed to be compliant with the Tasmanian Government Communications Policy, the DPAC team were also very helpful with endless style, brand and logo questions and patiently explaining the mandatory elements of the Government Style Guide.

Alasdair Wells
Section Head Policy and Support Services
EPA Division