Advertisements Use DNA on Discarded Litter to Reconstruct Faces, Shame Litter Bugs

cigarette buttsThe “pick up after me” attitude of many residents and visitors in Hong Kong has led to a huge litter problem – but The Face of Litter campaign by Ogilvy and Mather is seeking to change that. Their goal is to put a face to the anonymous crime of littering and make people think twice before dropping their trash. This is accomplished by reconstructing the faces of litter bugs through the DNA left on their discarded trash and publicly displaying the faces.

The advertising campaign sent DNA samples from discarded cigarettes, gum, and used condoms to a testing lab in the United States. Experts analyzed the DNA to predict hair and eye color, and to create a facial e-fit (Electronic Facial Identification Technique). The faces are posed along with the litter the person dropped and then displayed on electronic billboards in train stations, stores, and other heavily trafficked places.

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