Student’s campaign to censor plastic wins top award


A Birmingham City University student campaigning for plastic use to be censored in advertising has been handed a prestigious accolade in recognition of creative excellence.

22 year-old Tom Downey’s marketing campaign looks to challenge young people’s perceptions of plastic by changing the way they see it in promotional material and on social media.

Business School

Birmingham City University

The ‘PL*STIC’ initiative asks content creators to censor all single-use plastic in their visual content and features a petition to make it a legal requirement for brands to not only print the expiry date of products but also the break down date of packaging.

“Censorship has been used for years to determine what we should be seeing, saying or hearing, and it works,” explained Tom, who hails from Maidenhead in Berkshire and studies Marketing at Birmingham City University’s Business School.

“Making plastic 'invisible', makes it unavoidable. PL*STIC will send comment sections into a frenzy as content creators will be asked to censor plastic with no explanation, only adding to the effect and sparking conversation around the subject.”

Tom’s work has been recognised with a New Blood Award from D&AD, an advertising and design association inspiring and celebrating creative thinkers since 1962.

Tom’s campaign also proposes the use of a data-driven website to allow users to scan item barcodes when shopping to illustrate how many years it would take for the packaging to break down, whilst also providing tailored recommendations on cutting down plastic consumption and opportunities to challenge others to do so on social media.

See more of Tom’s work here.

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