DSNY Launches Ad Campaign to Try to “Shame” Litterers into Cleaning up After Themselves

DSNY Launches Ad Campaign to Try to “Shame” Litterers into Cleaning up After Themselves

By Yehudit Garmaise

The New York City Department of Sanitation (DSNY), which claims it has accomplished “noticeable and documents improvements in the cleanliness of our neighborhoods,” says that the preponderance of litter is caused by New Yorkers who can’t seem to get their trash into sidewalk garbage containers, nor pick up after their pets.

To motivate New Yorkers who litter, the DSNY, which is working with the Partnership for New York City, has launched a marketing campaign to shame what the agencies call "garbage" New Yorkers: “for once and for all.” 

While DSNY’s anti-littering campaign is the department’s first in 15 years, its, shall we say, “unrefined” message conveys a whole lot of New York edge.

“See a #GarbageNewYorker?” the DSNY’s posters read. “Tell ‘em where to stick it.”

“New Yorkers don’t sugarcoat things,” explained Wayne Best, the chief creative officer of VMLY&R New York, the marketing and communications company that created ads. “We say what we mean. The tone in these ads speak like New Yorkers: blunt, direct, and with a little bit of wit to serve as a reminder that Real New Yorkers don’t sit around and wait for others to pick stuff up.” 

“Mayor Adams has unleashed a tidal wave of cleanliness on our city, and the crest of this wave is finally hitting our streets, yet some people continue to fail in their basic duty to keep our neighborhoods clean by littering or not cleaning up after their dogs,” said Jessica Tisch, Commissioner of the New York City Department of Sanitation. “I don’t know why they do it, and frankly, I don’t care why they do it. 

“All I know is, if I see someone littering, I’ll tell them where to stick it,” 

“New Yorkers have had enough of litter, enough of filth on our sidewalks, and enough of feeling like there's nothing they can do about it,” said New York City Mayor Eric Adams. “This administration has committed to ‘Get Stuff Clean,’ and our strategy is working, but we need everyone to do their part, and that's what this campaign is all about.”

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