Almost three months ago, Octagon and several other companies in Baton Rouge were invited by First Lady Donna Edwards to develop the concept for a new anti-litter slogan for the State of Louisiana. Last Thursday, we were very proud to announce that our slogan was the winner. Thank you to First Lady Donna Edwards, Keep Louisiana Beautiful and the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality for honoring us with your decision.
Pulling a Pelican Out of a Hat
We started this project like we start every project…with research. We googled anti-litter slogans and campaigns from around the world until we couldn’t see straight, and then we looked at a few more. We wanted to see what’s been done, and what’s been successful. The most interesting thing we learned—Don’t Mess with Texas was originally the state’s anti-litter slogan started in 80’s. It was created by GSD&M (Haven’t heard of them? Go check them out; they’re pretty awesome.) Considering how far that slogan has come, we were inspired to create something that had the potential to go beyond anti-litter.
We also spent some time looking at Louisiana’s current slogan “Don’t Trash Louisiana.” (You’ve probably seen the slogan’s yellow bumper sticker with black and red writing in places all over the state.)
Next, we took careful notes from the brief sent to us by Keep Louisiana Beautiful and the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality. Our key takeaways were:
No more than six words
Catchy and quick to read
Communicate Louisiana pride
Promote anti-litter message
With about a million different thoughts sloshing around in our heads by this time, we sat down and started to concept. Our dropbox folder is littered (yea, we went there) with scraps of ideas and pictures of now-erased whiteboards that hold pretty much every thought we ever had about Louisiana’s new anti-litter slogan. Our first round of concepting consisted, literally, of any and every thought we had. We always have to remind each other that any idea, no matter how ridiculous or out-there, can be useful. In fact, it was one of these ideas that created half of our final slogan. So, our creative team engages in no-holds-barred, pedal-to-the-metal concepting sessions (it’s not as scary as it sounds; we actually have a lot of fun).
Aside from anti-litter, a huge part of our earliest session focused on compiling ideas about Louisiana itself. For anyone who lives here, it is common knowledge that our state might as well be a million different countries rolled up into one because of how different each region of Louisiana can be. So, that presented a challenge because we didn’t want a slogan that was too much of any one place.
After our first, unrestricted creative session, we hunkered down and started getting more targeted. Most of our early concepts aimed towards shaming bad behavior, but we decided that wasn’t the right direction. We thought it would be better to make people feel good about doing something positive rather than make them feel bad about doing something negative, after all Louisiana pride was a key consideration. Using a negative message to instill pride seemed counterintuitive. Also, everyone seems to use negative messaging for littering, and following the crowd isn’t exactly our style. So, we scrapped all the negative ideas and started working with the positive ones.
After several papers and white boards worth the ideas, we had a few slogans we really liked, but none that we loved. The deadline for submissions was closing in quickly, but then we had our a-ha moment. We had compiled all our slogan ideas onto one whiteboard in our conference room and were going over the merits of each when, suddenly, the idea came to us to combine our two favorite ideas into one slogan. Thus was born “Love the Boot. Don’t Pollute.”
What does the slogan mean to us here at Octagon?
The Octagon team is full of people who were born and raised in different places throughout the state of Louisiana, and that is something we are very proud to say. So, we wanted to create a memorable slogan that showed our love for Louisiana and captured the passion and lively personalities of the diverse group of people who call this state home. We hope you’ll join us in showing your love for our beautiful home state by choosing not to litter.