Wednesday 27 February 2008

wedge narratives

One of the best stories in Made To Stick is how Texans solved their litter problem. They discovered the biggest culprits were 18 to 35-year-old, pickup-driving males. Fines didn't have an impact, neither did appeals about the wildlife.

So an ad campaign recruited Texas's sporting and music heroes. One ad had Mike Scott, the Houston Astros pitcher, pick up some litter and hurl it at a roadside bin. Cue massive explosion, followed by the catchphrase, 'Don't mess with Texas'.

The ads weren't about guilt or shame. They touched a certain constituency's sense of its identity. Within five years, litter fell in the state by 72%.

There's a lot of scope here. In 2004, Stephen Pacala and Robert Socolow's introduced the wedge game: showing how climate change could be stabilised using 15 existing technologies or 'wedges'. There needs to be 15 types of narrative too.

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